Unknown
King or Queen for a Day
France

 There are twenty-five tiny Santons in this nativity.  The Porcelain figures are identified, in French, as some of the typical characters of Provençal Christmas lore:  the miller, the blind man and his young guide, the knife grinder, and the village fool in rapture – to name only some of them.  Their role in this set is not to be representatives of their village at the manger, but to be put as “premiums” in the Epiphany cake!  Following an old European tradition, beans were hidden in the cakes (galettes des rois) gracing the dinner table on January 6, feast of the Three Kings.  The lucky guest or member of the family who found a bean in his cake was made king or queen of the day. Over time, the beans were replaced with little figurines, especially kings, but also other Santons.  Who, child or adult, would not want to be king or queen for a day?

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