French Language Blog

La Fête des Rois Posted by on Dec 30, 2020 in Culture


J’espère que vous avez passé un bel noël! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. La nouvelle année is soon upon us and I am more than ready to say adieu to 2020.

Speaking of saying goodbye to this year, have you seen Tim’s recent post summarizing the French blog posts of 2020? It’s a perfect résumé (summary) and a great way to look back before we gracieusement (gracefully),  ou peut-être impatiemment (or maybe eagerly), step into 2021.

Image from pixabay, CCO.

After the new year we wont have to say adieu to celebrating, however, since the traditional French holiday of La Fête des Rois is juste autour du coin (just around the corner).

La Fête des Rois, The King’s Feast, is held on January 6th to celebrate the Epiphanie (The Revelation). This represents the conclusion of the Christmas festivities and celebrates the arrival of the three kings to Bethlehem to bring gifts to the baby Jesus after his birth on December 25th.

In France this is affectueusement (affectionately) celebrated with des galettes des Rois (the King’s Cakes). Traditionally these are pâte feuilleté (puff pastry) filled with frangipane, sold with a golden crown and une fève (fava bean) baked inside. Modern versions include plastic or ceramic religious or historical figurines of  instead of the traditional fava bean, and of course il faut faire attention en mangeant la galette (it’s necessary to pay attention while eating the galette) in order to safely discover la fève. 

Et si tu trouves la fève tu es couronné.e roi ou reine! (And if you find the bean, you are crowned King or Queen!) You will then have the honor of buying next year’s galette des Rois, and of course you will wear la couronne (the crown.)

Another tradition is to save a small piece for an unexpected visitor, or poor person, who passes by. With this, everyone has an equal chance to  tirer les rois (draw the kings) from the cake.

A Southern brioche style King’s Cake. Image from pixabay, CCO.

If you would like to faire cuire sa propre galette (bake your own galette) here is a link to a simple and traditional recipe. If you prefer the Southern brioche style decorated with candied fruit which is quite réjouissant (festive), check out this recette.

Bonne année à tous! Vive le roi, vive la reine! Adieu 2020!

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.