January 6 is the first day of the little-known liturgical season, "King Cake Season," celebrated mainly in the Church of New Orleans. For non-New Orleanians, the tradition is to have a simple party with the main offering being a ring-shaped cake in which a tiny baby doll has been hidden. The person with the doll in his or her piece of cake hosts the next party, which could take place the next day or week or whenever (but soon!). I remember Dad telling us that when he was a boy, a pecan took the place of the doll. They were so poor, Grandma would tell the kids, "If you get the pecan, eat it!"
King Cake season lasts until Mardi Gras, when, of course, it yields to Lent!