When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod,* behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star* at its rising and have come to do him homage.”
January 7th is the Feast of the Three Kings. It is, also, known by other names as well. Some call it the Feast of the Magi or Feast of the Epiphany or Little Christmas. So who were these Kings which traveled to page Jesus homage. Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar were their names. They came in search of the newborn king. Just as we do.
In south Louisiana, we serve king cake during this time to symbolize our search for the baby Jesus. Inside each cake is placed a baby. Starting on the Feast of Three Kings until Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday), the king cake is served and parades ride through the various communities.
The traditional colors are purple, green and gold symbolizing royalty. Purple symbolizes justice, while green is for faith and gold is for power. It is meant to bring our thoughts to the journey the Magi made bearing gifts.
As is customary during Mardi Gras, there is much revelry reminiscent of years long ago. People are celebrating the birth and finding of the child Jesus. As soon as Fat Tuesday has ended, a most solemn period called Lent begins which is a time of reflection and abstinence.