gateau des rois de la boulangerie elyse
©Boulangerie Elyse 8e et 12e arr. ©E.Lamy
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Epiphany in Provence

In Provence, we have many traditions that we love to celebrate ! The santons, Christmas celebrations, the Sainte-Barbe… For us, December is full of beautiful family traditions, that allow us to gather and perpetuate our customs !

Published on 4 January 2022

But where does this tradition come from ?

With Christmas over, it’s time to celebrate the Epiphany with your family !  As everywhere in France, on the second Sunday after Christmas, we celebrate the Epiphany in Provence, which is part of the calendar celebrations.

Epiphany, which comes from the Greek , meaning “apparition”, symbolises in Christianity the arrival of the three king at the side  of the Holy Child-Jesus.

These Magi would thus have accomplished a long journey to come and visit the newborn baby who, in the Provençal tradition, would have been born in Provence !

Thus, the three Wise Men take their place on january 6th in the cots installed in Provençal houses at the beginning of December, and remains until Candlemas, Fevruary 2nd.

Guided by the Sheperd’s star, the three Magi arrived at the barn where the Child-Jesus was born on this day to deposit their offerings.

This tradition reached France at the end of the 14th century, through the Papecy of Avignon, where the first drawing of Kings took place at the Dominican convent.

During these ceremonies, a round cake filled with figs, dates and honey was made and divided equally between the masters and the slaves. Inside the cake, was a bean and whoever fell on it was named king for the day .

A Provençal tradition : the King’s cake

In Provence, Epiphany is celebrated with the King’s cake. It is made in the shape of a crown and covered with crystallised fruit from our region, this cake perfumed with orange blossom is adored in Provence ! Today, inside the brioche are placed both a food bean, a real one and a small figurine called a ‘santon’, which is a collector’s delight.

Tradition dictates that the youngest member of the table is placed under the table and distributes the shares so that the santon and the bean are distributed randomly.

The King’s cake from the “North” or the King’s brioche with crystallised fruits from Provence, it’s time to indulge ! We give you the best addresses in Marseille which offer both versions, to delight the whole family !

Our adresses

the best king's cakes and brioches in Marseille