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Queen for a Day

January 9, 2011

I love holidays, customs and traditions which, as a third culture kid, you’d think I’d have had more than my fair share of exposure to. Alas, this is not true. Neither of my parents are religious (one’s a non-practicing Protestant while the other is a latent Buddhist) nor are they much into holidays. Growing up, we acknowledged/celebrated but a few (mostly ‘generic’ Western) holidays. Bit of a shame, I think. BUT it is never too late to learn more about our own traditions and I am going to do that and celebrate whenever and wherever I can! And when I have kids one day… they are going to be swamped with holidays and traditions whether they like it or not. Bwahahahaha!

Which brings me to my story… a few days ago I stumbled across a blog post that informed me that here in Switzerland – and on this very day – they were celebrating a holiday/tradition! I had never heard of Dreikönigstag before, so of course I asked the Google.

Dreikönigstag, which translates to Day of the Three Kings, celebrates the arrival of the three kings at Jesus’ manger twelve days after his birth. The day is celebrated on the 6th of January with the Dreikönigskuchen (the cake of the Three Kings). This so-called cake (which is actually a sweet raisin and almond bread) is comprised of a ring of buns/rolls with one additional bun/roll in the middle and a tiny plastic figure of a king baked into it. The bread is shared between family members and whomever picks the roll/bun with the king in it is king/queen for the day. The king/queen wears the crown that comes with the Dreikönigskuchen, is exempt from chores and gets to boss family members around all day long. Nice. Well, so long as you find that damn plastic figure and you don’t choke on it.

I would have been more excited about this discovery except for the fact that I was home alone and my sister was only due to arrive on Saturday. I could have just celebrated by myself, but despite very much liking my odds of finding the king… where’s the fun in being queen if you have no loyal subjects at your beck and call? Plus, the notion of celebrating by oneself is depressing. Refusing to be thwarted from realising my first celebration of this holiday, I bought the cake anyway and waited patiently for my sister to arrive.

Dreikönigskuchen… now with crown!

Saturday morning finally arrived and with it came my sister. We tore into the rolls one at a time and by her second roll, she had found the king… which turned out to not be a king. I’m not sure if the company that made the Dreikönigskuchen ran out of kings or what, but the plastic figure my sister pulled out of her piece of bread looked more like a Dutch lady holding a fan. In any case, with her gold crown on her head, the royal photo shoot began. Later, I cooked dinner for her majesty and washed up afterwards… which is what I normally do anyway… and come to think of it, there wasn’t really any bossing around either. I guess it’s slightly awkward and not as much fun when there’s only one person to boss around. She did, however, wear the crown most of the day… and all of today so far; she’s claiming that she ought to have 24 hours, not just part of a day. Fair enough, your majesty, fair enough.

The Dreikönigstag Crown

This is a tradition I will be repeating and a recipe I plan on learning. The bread, as it turns out, is really yummy!



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