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Epiphany’s and charm’s history


charms history

Vegetable native to Africa and Asia appeared in Egypt in 2000 before JC, it was for a long time the base of the popular food. Its embryonic form conferred to him a strong symbolic power. For all antiquity’s civilizations it was the symbol of the fertility and of the happiness and it was one of the foods offered during marriage’s rites.

The charm promises to who finds it: luck, wealth, power and virtue.

Middle Ages:

charms history

At Middle Ages the job’s corporations use the charm like a vote’s counter to choose "a king" charged to represent them to seigneurial or ecclesiastical authority.

XIXth century :

saxe charms

In the second half of the 19th century we see to arrive on the French market little porcelain dolls, the "baby dolls", manufactured in Sax.

In 1874, a pastry cook has the idea to replace the vegetable charm by these baby dolls.

XXth century :


After the First World War Limoges will take over from the German production until the arrival of the plastic charms which will almost totally replace the porcelain charms.

In 1988, Limoges Castel, principal specialist of the charms’ manufacture stops definitively his production.

In 1989, a little revolution is in the offing in Haute Saône : Joseph Perron, representative to bakers and pastry cooks has the idea to give colours at charms in white porcelain, to bring diversity and to create new charms to celebrate in our way the revolution’s bicentenary.

....Charm becomes a collector’s item....

End of XXth century :

licence charm

Appearance of licensed charms.

Twelfth Night cake’s history

epiphany cake

The twelfth Night cake was born from a disagreement which matched bakers against pastry cooks in the 15th century. Each of them wanted to obtain the monopoly of the manufacture of the symbolic cake. Pastry-cooks are won. But Ce furent les pâtissiers qui l'emportèrent auprès du roi François 1er. But bakers could do something.

Bakers played on the words : they invented the twelfth Night cake, which they offered to their customers the Epiphany’s day. Each twelfth Night cake hides a charm. Who find the charm in his portion should offer the same twelfth Night cake (which he must pay) to other present persons.

Source : Historia n°446 - January 1984

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