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Today it has been brought to my attention that not every country on earth knows the tradition of the "Dreikönigskuchen"*. This has been done by Bob the Australian, who nearly choked on the little plastic king found in his part of the cake, a place where he didn't expect small plastic toys.
Let me thus tell you about this ancient custom, so as to prevent you from culture shock (and probably choking on a piece of plastic), should you ever encounter such a cake.
So, if it ever happens to you that it's the 6th of January and you're offered a piece of a cake that looks like this -->
here's what to do:
Every person breaks off one of the small parts on the outside (usually there are 6 of them, but you can also get cakes with 8, 9, 12 or more). There's no rule what happens to the part in the middle. Having your part of the cake, carefully (that means you, Bob!) eat it and look out for a small plastic king inside it. (The Romans used to hide beans inside, as plastic figures were rare back then.) There should be exactly one plastic king per cake. If you're the lucky one to find it, you're king for the day. Basically that means you get a cardboard crown with gold imitation, everybody is supposed to call you king, and you decide what to do for the rest of the day.
If somebody else gets to be king, you're supposed to call them King and do whatever they say! (Within reasonable limits of course.)
So much for this custom. Just so you know for next year. :-)
To turn the tables, what other Epiphany customs do you know of?
* I couldn't find the word in my dictionary, but it literally translates into "Three Kings Cake" and maybe is best described as "Epiphany Cake".
When life hands you a lemon, that's 40% of your RDA of vitamin C taken care of.
This post was edited by null on Jan 06, 2004.
Jan 06, 2004 16:14 # 18741
There's no rule what happens to the part in the middle.
We found the king in the middle once, so it's supposed to be eaten, too. Anyway it's the part I prefer because often there are almond leaves on it, which I like :)
Besides from that I didn't look forward to the cake because usually it's filled with dry grapes which I hate. Buah.
How serious are you people taking this "King thing" at all? We never took it too serious. I always felt sad about that as a child but I didn't get the plastic king anyway. Das was the lucky one - always. Don't ask me why. He must have X-ray-eyes :D
Uh, I'm so unhappy. This unchristian Zurich city doesn't even think of making this day a public holiday so I had to get up and all the stuff while my family enjoyed another day off :P
"Sie wollen nichts anderes. Sie wollen kämpfen! Sie sind Soldaten! Fucking Wahnsinnige!" - Noel G.
Up here in Northwestern Germany (Bochum that is) the cake-with-plastic-in-it thing is usually done during children's birthday parties. Not that the person who finds the baked-in toy gets treated any special, but s/he can feel just a little lucky...
But I think the cake custom is fairly wide spread in one form or the other. If my memory serves me right, my sister once told me about this custom in Chile. But I forgot what the lucky person gets. :)
As for Epiphany customs: In remembrance of the three kings, the kids from the local parishes go out on or around the 6th dressed up as, you guessed it, kings. They walk from door to door and sing or recite some text and plead for money which goes to some charitable cause. In return for the donation and the suffering through the song (I have done this actively myself, so I know what I'm talking about) :) people get a sign of blessing written above their front door.
Kind of a nice custom. But it does suck to be walking around in the freezing could with every other door being slammed shut in front of your nose.