In France, they keep it coming right on through January. The holidays, I mean.
First, there’s Epiphany, on January 6th. This is the traditional day to eat Galette des Rois, or Kings’ Cake. So named for the three kings who supposedly arrived in Bethlehem a couple weeks late for Jesus’ birthday, the pastry itself is a simple but delicious round of puff pastry filled with almond cream (aka frangipane). The top of the galette is scored in a decorative pattern (just ask me how!) and there is a “bean” (while it’s called a bean, it is usually some kind of ceramic figure or charm) hidden inside which gives the finder the privilege (or punishment) of wearing the little paper crown that comes wrapped around the galette. I have recently learned that nowadays, instead of waiting for the actual date of Epiphany to roll around, the French celebrate with their galettes des rois on the first Sunday of the month, which explains why I spent 6 hours last Saturday making them. You might think that the galette madness would be over by now, but it seems to be going strong and I am told that it continues through the whole month of January.
Speaking of January, the other important national “holiday” going on is Les Soldes – The Sales! Twice a year, in January and June) French stores are allowed to reduce their prices as much as they want. This is supposed to even the playing field between large companies and small businesses, but I’m not really sure how. Nor do I much care, if it means I can afford to shop at Galeries Lafayette. In terms of work, Les Soldes don’t affect me as much, although there is definitely an impact on my paycheck. Heh. It’s going to be another busy month.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.