If the thought of entertaining guests during the month of December sends you into a panic, but you just can’t shake the desire to have some company, I have the perfect idea for you: Host a Twelfth Night Party!
The celebration of Twelfth Night dates back centuries to a time when Christmas Day was a quiet day of religious observance and the 12 days after it were times of great celebration, culminating in Twelfth Night revelry. Traditionally, Twelfth Night occurs on the evening of January 5; January 6 marks the Feast of the Epiphany and the arrival of the Three Wise Men (also called the Three Kings) to Bethlehem. The raucous parties of the 18th century involved fancy costumes and enough food and drink to see the guests through the cold winter months; modern-day traditions of the Mummer’s Parade in Philadelphia on New Year’s Day and Carnival or Mardi Gras in New Orleans both have their roots in Twelfth Night.
A Twelfth Night party can be a simple cocktail or dessert party with only one mandatory menu item: a King’s Cake!. Named for the Three Kings who visited Baby Jesus, a King Cake is braided Danish pastry with a small plastic baby baked inside. The guest who finds the trinket becomes the “king” (or “queen”) of the party!