The Epiphany, Kings Day and King’s Cake with MP3 of “J’aime la galette”

The Twelve Days of Christmas actually start on Christmas and go up to the Epiphany, on January 6th.

Here’s the legend: The Three Wise Men saw the star of Bethlehem on the day Jesus was born. It took them the time between Christmas and the Epiphany to find Jesus and present him with the gifts. Epiphany literally means manifestation. Thus, the Epiphany is the manifestation of Christ to the Three Kings.

In France, January 6th is also called La fête des rois or Kings Day.

Since the Middle Ages, in celebration of the Epiphany, French people have Galettes des Rois. Galette des Rois is called King’s Cake in English. In the north of France it’s a round cake with an almond/butter filling called frangipane. In the south of France, King’s Cake is called a royaume and is made in the shape of a ring, representing a crown, and topped with glazed fruit and icing. Hidden inside the King’s Cake is a small trinket called a fève. Whoever finds the fève is given a paper crown and gets to be king or queen for the day!

Galette des rois

Here’s a song called J’aime la galette, or I Love Cake, in French and with an English translation and sung by Monique’s first grade class…


MP3 of J’aime la galette – I Love Cake!

J’aime la galette
(French)

J’aime la galette,
Savez-vous comment ?
Quand elle est bien faite
Avec du beurre dedans.
Trala la la la la la la lère,
Tra la la la la la la la la,
Tra la la la la la la la lère,
Tra la la la la la la la la.

I Love Cake
(English)

I love cake,
Do you know how?
When it’s well made,
With butter inside!
Tra la la la la la la la lère,
Tra la la la la la la la la,
Tra la la la la la la la lère,
Tra la la la la la la la la.

It’s interesting to note that the tradition of eating King’s Cake is also followed in New Orleans in the U.S. There, King’s cake is a ring cake made with cinnamon dough and topped with icing. The icing is purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power.

King’s Cake is eaten in New Orleans throughout the Mardi Gras season, which begins on the Epiphany. A small baby, representing Jesus, is hidden inside the New Orleans version of King’s Cake. Whoever finds the baby is supposed to have good luck.

Photo King's Cake

Recipe for Galettes des Rois in English.

Here’s a recipe in French… Gâteau des rois

Many thanks to Monique of Mama Lisa’s World en français for pointing out the tradition of Galettes des Rois in France, and to Monique’s class for the wonderful recording of J’aime la galette.

Happy Fête des Rois!

Lisa

Come visit the Mama Lisa’s World France page for more French children’s songs with their English translations and…

Mama Lisa’s World en français for children’s songs around the world with their French translations.

3 Responses to “The Epiphany, Kings Day and King’s Cake with MP3 of “J’aime la galette””

  1. Monique Says:

    Friends generally gather to share a “galette” or a “royaume” (“kingdom” -that’s the way the King’s cake -ring cake without filling -is called in Southern France). The one who finds the trinket has to buy another cake then the group gathers again and so on. We may do that at our working place too. That’s why you can find cakes for sale long after January 6th.

  2. haley Says:

    I LOVE CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. A French Wedding Custom – A Game Played at the Reception | Mama Lisa's World Blog Says:

    […] traditional to eat crêpes in France in February. The one for January got “buying a galette and sharing it with them”. July’s penalty was inviting them somewhere to have dinner […]

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