In my family, and most of Louisiana, it is a tradition to buy or make King Cakes in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras. Hidden inside is a tiny plastic, pink baby, and if you're the one to find it: YAY for you! That's really all I knew.
According to Wikipedia if you find the baby you're King or Queen for the day and are responsible for bringing the cake the following week. The baby is sometimes thought of as baby Jesus. Surprisingly, other countries use the King Cake for their festivals and carnivals. Colonists from France and Spain brought it to Louisiana.
I miss Louisiana customs like this! I'm so homesick today. :( Even though New Orleans has changed drastically since Hurricane Katrina, I hope the people are partying like only they know how. Geaux New Orleans!