Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent Calendar Day 11--Other Traditions or Attack on the Spice Cake

     I have previously blogged about the Hughes family tradition every Christmas Eve....dinner out, church services at Hiland Presbyterian Church, coming home, going to bed, adults arriving for the annual party.

     Another holiday tradition that comes to mind was 12 nights after Christmas Day....Twelfth Night. As an elementary school child my best friend, Ruthie, and I anxiously waited for this Christian celebration at our church. During that week we would hoist our Christmas tree on top of the car, tie it down and drive it over to an area beside the church. Trees would be piled on top of each other. On the evening of 12th night all the church members would gather after dark and the pile of trees would be burned. Almost sounds somewhat pagan!!!!

     The tree burning was spectacular....the choir singing....passages from the Bible being read, however that was only Act 1 to the evening. Act 2 was held in the church's community hall. Cake and beverages were served. There were numerous, HUGE sheets of spice cake with vanilla frosting. And now for the part of the celebration that, those of us who were kids prepared for.......eating the cake. 

     Hidden in the cakes were 12 gold crosses. The lucky person who happened to find one in their piece of cake, kept it for one year and returned it the following December to be baked in the next years cakes.

     Ruthie and I took the "finding of the cross" very seriously. Annually, our plan was to starve during the day so we would be able to eat cake until we found a cross. Most years, Ruthie found a cross. Sadly, I never was one of the lucky winners......until one of the last years we attended Hiland Presby. That year, after eating numerous pieces of cake, I went up for what was to be my final plate. I believe that the church lady cutting the pieces saw me, had just cut into a cross and pushed it back into the small square of spice cake and handed it to me. A random act of kindness if there ever was one. I proudly wore that small cross around my neck for the next year.

     I decided to google Hiland Presbyterian Church to see if they still do the 12th Night celebration. Unfortunately, at present, their calendar does not go out that far. It was always a fun night of celebration coupled with a pretty awful stomachache and now a delightful memory.

Other Hiland Presbyterian Church Blogs on Flipside

-HILAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH--Memories from the 1950's

Updated October 2022


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© 2009, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. Oh that is so cute. You had probably won one sooner but just swallowed it accidentally. Our dentists used to put coins in their son's cakes and I always thought they were trying to create work with some broken teeth. Ha.
    I wonder how many kids lost their cross before they had to give it back?

  2. You are soooo funny, Lori! My brother asked the same many folks did not return those crosses to the church.

  3. I carry envy for never having found one of those crosses to this very day!!! Of course as a small fry, I never did eat but a couple of pieces of that cake. I remember it being quite tasty though… hey wait a minute… is THAT where I first discovered my sweet tooth??? A lifelong addiction begun in search of the ever elusive cross!!! Shameful…