Let the good times roll!
It is Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) after all. I feel even more in the spirit of Mardi Gras since J and I were visiting New Orleans mid February for a conference and everyone had their decorations up.
Go get yourself a King Cake or some pączkis to celebrate. It's probably a little late to find pączkis today, so here's a pączki recipe that I posted last year. You may have more luck finding a King Cake (especially you are in the south). You can even make your own King Cake from the recipe here.
Feel free to read about the history of the King Cake here.
Regarding their history, most of the King Cakes I have ever seen don't use a bean inside anymore. The common item is a small plastic unclad baby.
I actually found a gold one this year just like the one below.
My gold plastic baby has a hole in it, as do many of the others. This hole runs from the top of their head to their bottom and allows people watching the various parades in New Orleans to string the baby onto a strand and wear them around. I haven't quite figured out how they get the plastic baby onto the beads though.
Can anyone answer that for me?