JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – January 6 is the day by which we are supposed to have all of our Christmas decorations put away. It’s a stronger tradition than the deal about not wearing white after Labor Day.

January 6th is the day of the Epiphany when the Magi found the Christ Child. Just as January 1 is “out with the old and in with the new,” Epiphany ends the Christmas season, but it’s the beginning of Mardi Gras.  

“It starts on Epiphany, which is after the 12 days of Christmas. So, January 6th every year.”

Mardi Gras is a season of parties, revelry, parades and eating (particularly eating King Cake). Now, the King Cake tradition dates back to the Middle Ages as the Three Kings cake served on Epiphany. When the French came to Louisiana, the King Cake tradition came with them.

Mitchell Moore, a former proprietor of Campbell’s Bakery, said there are many variations of the King Cake. You no longer find them just in New Orleans, either. They came up with the Jackson variety. 

“My brother was down in New Orleans. He got some. Came through Picayune and picked up some from Paul’s and brought them all back. We tried several different ones and came up with our own,” he said.

Mitchell mentioned Paul’s in Picayune. Paul’s Bakery is perhaps the epicenter for King Cakes anywhere in the world during the Mardi Gras season. The modest bakery in Picayune, Mississippi, ships them all over the country during Mardi Gras. 

“We make about 65 to 70 thousand King Cakes during Mardi Gras. We are working in here about 24 hours a day for those many weeks. However long King Cake season lasts.”

Don’t let that last comment Sherri made slip past you. Mardi Gras is a finite season. It starts on Epiphany, but ends abruptly at midnight on Fat Tuesday going into Ash Wednesday.

“Ash Wednesday begins the 40 days of Lent, begins our Lenten season.”

At the beginning of Ash Wednesday, the Mardi Gras Season is over. The King Cake will be gone until next January. So, eat up! Be careful not to break a tooth on the plastic baby baked inside.

You can leave your Christmas decorations up as long as you want to, and the “proper committee’ won’t say a thing. You can also get a fresh King Cake 12 months out of the year at Paul’s Pastries in Picayune.