To many people, 25th December is the heart of Christmas but to others, Epiphany or Twelfth Night on the 6th January is when the festivities really take place. Epiphany is a celebration of when the Three Kings brought their gifts to the baby Jesus and this important event is still marked around the world by gift-giving and special foods.
Why is Epiphany special?
While today, Epiphany is very important in many parts of the world, including Spain, Italy and Greece, back in Tudor Britain it was also more important than Christmas Day. It was an event marked by rituals around food and drink. Going door to door singing carols, known as ‘wassailing’, was saved for Twelfth Night and even today in Scotland, coal is given to neighbours in the hope of bringing prosperity for the coming months; a tradition known as First Footing. We’ve made our own brief journey around the world to bring you some traditional New Year food and drink.
- The Galette de Rois (French) or Roscon de Reyes Cake (Spanish) is a rich cake, often baked in a round shape, that delivers a sumptuous finale to the festivities. While ingredients and shape vary from country to country and region to region, it’s basically a rich brioche filled with frangipane and lashings of dried fruit. Each cake contains a hidden charm. Whoever gets the charm is king or queen for the evening and everybody has to follow their rules.
- Szczodraki, eaten in Poland, is a seasonal croissant with sweet or savoury fillings such as chocolate or sauerkraut. They were linked to the harvest and if it had been good, then the szczodraki would have been generous in size and filling. If it had been a poor year, they would have been smaller and maybe even empty!
- The Italian struffoli is a tower of small fried dough balls that are smothered with sticky honey and decorated with candied fruit. Time-consuming to make, struffoli was prepared by nuns and gifted to aristocratic families.
- The Wassail Bowl of Britain was made from warm ale or cider and taken on carol singing rounds to keep the performers warm. Each household was asked to add something to the bowl as well as give the singers some money or cake.
- Loukoumades from Greece are heavenly bite-sized honey balls deep-fried until golden and then served with hot honey syrup, cinnamon and walnuts. Definitely one for the sweet-toothed, especially if a dollop of vanilla ice cream is added!
Festive food in Singapore
If you want to see in Twelfth Night or Epiphany with some celebratory food, foodpanda has partnerships with Singapore restaurants that are still serving at midnight. You can order your ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum, Asian platters from Tian Tian Chi Mian or a festive pizza from Pizza Hut.