Twelve Days of Fruitcake

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In smaller homes, the cake was a simple fruitcake, with a bean in it, which was given to guests during the twelve days of Christmas.

Our Twelve Days Of Christmas

Whoever got the bean was supposed to be a kind of guardian angel for that family for the year, so it was an important task, and usually, it was arranged that a senior member of the family would get the bean! This was observed until recently in Poland in fact.

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In Britain the cake was baked as part of the refreshments offered to the priest and his entpourage who would visit on the feast of the Epiphany, January 6th, to bless each house in the parish. In Mallorca, the main island of the Spanish Balearics Islands, they have a similar custom which takes place at Easter.

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The festive cake in Britain was revived at the end of the 17th century, and became very much part of the Twelfth night partying again. It is recorded In royal households, that the cakes became extravagantly large, and the guests divided into two side could have a battle with models on the cake! One battle was a sea battle, and there were minature water canon on the cake which really worked! It used to be the time when people exchanged their Christmas gifts. The feast was marked, as were all the old feasts, by some kind of religious observance.

A visit to the church, a service or some kind, and then a folk observance which was tightly wrapped up as part of the Church activities. As we have seen, Twelve Day the day following Twelfth Night entailed the blessing of the home, and in some countries is still observed. But after the Reformation, these customs of the Church were banned by the Puritans, and fell into disuse. Without its religious overtones, Twelfth Night became a time of mischief and over indulgence. By , Britains Queen Victoria announced that she felt it was inappropriate to hold such an unchristian festival, and Twelfth Night was banned as a feastday.

The Americans in turn were getting cakes sent from all parts of Europe by relatives in the 'Old Country'. Then in the 's a German immigrant opened a cake bakery in a small town, and began to bake cakes which the Americans in turn would send to their relatives back in Europe.

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This cake was based on a traditional Christmas cake, but contained many of the fruits which were grown in the Americas. This cake is now sent out to countries all over the world by the bakery, and is probably the most popular Christmas Cake today! The Story of the Christmas Cake he Christmas Cake as we know it today comes from two customs which became one around in Victorian England. It was a dish to line the stomach after a day's fasting, which people used to observe for Christmas Eve, or the 'Vigil' as it was called long ago.

Gradually, they began to put spices, dried fruits, honey etc in the porridge to make it a special dish for Christmas.


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