I didn't come from a very religious family, but we did always celebrate Epiphany with a king cake. It's hard not to love this tradition. It gives kids something to look forward to during the post-Christmas doldrums. It involves a game of chance. And hey, there's cake.
So this year I introduced my children to the idea.
For those who aren't familiar with king cakes, they have a tiny baby Jesus hidden somewhere inside them. Everyone takes a slice of cake, and then whoever finds the plastic Jesus in their piece gets to be king for the day.
When I was a kid, I seem to recall the baby Jesus getting swallowed by an overzealous child a few times. (You would think it would be sacrilegious to search for a plastic Savior inside a kid's stool, but I didn't invent this tradition.)
For my own family's inaugural Epiphany, we didn't have a Jesus, so we had to improvise.
Part of the fun is creating the king's crown. You make two of them because the king gets to select a queen (or vice versa, depending on whether a boy or girl gets the ordained slice).
Elliot was very interested in what kind of powers he would get if he became king. I told him that everyone in the family would have to do what he said — within reason. His eyes swirled with anticipation.
Fortunately for all of us, I ended up getting the baby Jesus in my piece. (I made Kelly my queen.) I'm pretty sure Elliot would have gone mad with power if he had become king. Still, it seemed a little too convenient that I set up this whole thing and then personally benefited from it. I felt like an African dictator.
I placated Elliot by making him a knight. Then I ordered my subjects to take a bath and go to bed.
They didn't listen to me, of course, but I'm happy to run a figurehead monarchy.