Fête des Rois is an important feast in France and in several other countries around the world. In the United States, most people think of it as the Feast of the Epiphany. This feast, celebrated on January 6, commemorates, as recorded in Scripture, the visit of the three Magi (Wisemen) to the Infant Jesus.
One of the traditional practices of the Fête des Rois in France is the baking of a special cake Galette des Rois into which has been hidden a special item (la féve) and then sharing the cake with others. Whoever finds la féve in his/her cake is crowned King or Queen.
At Mater Christi School, grades K-8 French classes celebrated the feast with cakes baked by parents or students. The hidden item in each of the cakes baked for grades K-5 was a small replica of the Infant Jesus; that for grades 6-8 was a well-scrubbed coin.
Because the older students were familiar with the day and its significance, less time was spent in discussion and more in sharing the sweet treat and being crowned king or queen for the day. While waiting to be served, these students watched a video on how to bake a classic French Galette.
Since in each French class, three cakes had coins hidden in them, there were three kings and/or queens, and each of these royal personages could choose another classmate to share the honor and be crowned by their French teachers, Mme Delphine Giron and Mme Agnes Thomas. Traditionally, if a boy found the coin in his piece of cake, he chose a girl to be queen. If a girl found a coin, she chose a boy to be king. When some of the junior high students whispered to their French teacher that this was awkward, she changed the rule!
Many of the kings and queens wore their crowns to each of their classes, brightening up, an otherwise very cold, cloudy winter day!
Sister Joanne LaFreniere, RSM
Director of Public Relations and Spiritual Life