EPIPHANY

Epiphany, from the Greek word Epiphania meaning 'revelation', is based on the biblical story that tells of the wise men or Three Kings, Caspar (or Kaspar or Gaspar), Melchior and Balthasar, who saw a bright star on the night Christ was born and followed it to Bethlehem.

There are many traditions surrounding Epiphany.

One very popular tradition involves hiding small items in cake.

On the night before the feast of Epiphany, a special cake would be served with 3 beans hidden within, two white beans and one black one.

Whoever found the beans would be the Kings at the Epiphany feast.

Dressed in fine robes, they would preside over the feast and before leaving would hand out small gifts, equivalents of gold, frankincense and myrhh.

In the royal courts of the Middle Ages, Epiphany cakes would contain a dried whole yellow pea for the king and a dried navy bean for the Queen.

Whoever found the bean and the pea would be the King and Queen of the feast.

A traditional 'Christ Cake' was popular in many countries of the world.

A tiny plastic or ceramic statue of Christ would be baked into the cake.

Whoever found the statue would be especially blessed throughout the coming year.