To celebrate the end of the year and the coming New Year, an Angolan Christmas tradition is the eating of ‘bolo-rei’ (translated ‘king-cake’); a sweet, Portuguese cake.
The tradition of the bolo-rei began in France in the seventeenth century; it arrived in Portuguese lands in the late nineteenth century and never left.
The cake receipe is simple: a light yeast dough, filled with raisins, nuts and dried fruits, prepared in such a way as to resemble a crown. But it is laden with symbolism. The sweet that Portugal spread around the world (including towards Angola and Brazil) is an allusion to the three wise men (hence the form of a crown) and is stuffed with a fava bean and a present. The person “rewarded” with the slice containing the fava bean, it is usually designated to prepare the cake for the following year. Whoever receives the slice with the surprise has the right to make a special request and will have luck and wealth in that year.
Play and superstitions aside, the candy became a tradition and it begins to be eaten since the night of Christmas until the Three Kings’ Day, on January 6th. As a curiosity: the gâteau des rois, as the cake is called in France, is completely different as the French cake is made of puff pastry. In spite of this, the legend surrounding its shape is the same. (TAAG Austral Magazine)