"I will hold Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens.
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The most exciting moment at the Christmas dinner is finding out who the lucky person is whose portion of the pudding contains the coin. Children treasure this custom even if the coin is of no value.
The coin in the pudding is attributed to the festivities held in the last days of the Christmas period, Twelfth Night. This is done in memory of the three kings who are said to have arrived in Bethlehem, a mock 'king' would be chosen for the day only.
There were several names given for this day also such as the 'King of Misrule' where everyhting was reversed made topsy turvy, another name for this "king for a day" was "King of the Bean", which was based on the method by which he or she is chosen.
A bean was mixed into the cake and baked for the occasion. When the cake was broken up and its pieces distributed among the company, whoever found the hidden bean was supposed to be crowned the 'King of the Bean'. This ancient ritual may be the origin of the modern coin in the pudding.
Another ritual was that belonging to the pagan celebration of Saturnalia where the person who found the coin was killed.
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