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Heilige Drei Könige

Heilige Drei Könige is celebrated on 6th January. In some areas of Germany it is a public holiday.

The day celebrates the arrive of the three wise men from the east in Bethlehem. In the Evangelical Church it is known as Epihanias – similar to the English name of the day in some countries “Epiphany”.

On this day, groups of children known as Sternsinger go from door to door and sing a song or recite a poem or prayer. They then write in chalk above the door C+B+M and the number of the year with three crosses, eg. 20*C+M+B+08. These letters stand for the latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, meaning “God protect this house”.

The Sternsinger also collect donations for childrens’ charities.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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7 Responses to “Heilige Drei Könige”

  1. Graham Says:

    I realised after I had written the text, that Maria said in the podcast 20*C+M+B+08 is for Casper, Melchior and Balthazar – Wikipedia says it is for Christus mansionem benedicat.

    Perhaps someone can tell us which is correct?

  2. Graham Says:

    Another interesting fact – the remains of the Three Kings are said to be contained in a shrine in Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom).

    I first visited the shrine when I was on a school exchange in 1987 – unfortunately I don’t have the photos with me in Germany to scan.

    So to get an impression of what the shrine looks like, take a look at this video: http://tinyurl.com/2vo8bh

  3. German Words Explained » Blog Archive » Karneval - Fasching - Fastnacht Says:

    […] Karneval, also known as Fasching or Fastnacht (even Fasnet, Fasnacht or Fasenacht), officially begins on 11th November at 11:11, but it only really gets going after Ephiphany. […]

  4. AllThingsGerman.net» Blog Archive » Karneval – Fasching – Fastnacht Says:

    […] Karneval – Fasching – Fastnacht Karneval, also known as Fasching or Fastnacht (even Fasnet, Fasnacht or Fasenacht), officially begins on 11th November at 11:11, but it only really gets going after Ephiphany. […]

  5. Pension Sprachschule Maria Shipley » Blog Archive » Karneval – Fasching – Fastnacht Says:

    […] Karneval – Fasching – Fastnacht Karneval, also known as Fasching or Fastnacht (even Fasnet, Fasnacht or Fasenacht), officially begins on 11th November at 11:11, but it only really gets going after Ephiphany. […]

  6. könige Says:

    […] Heiland Heiligen-Drei-K¶nige Henkel holidays inclusion Internationality Karriere Kind …Heilige Drei K¶nige | Bank Holidays | German Words ExplainedHeilige Drei K¶nige is celebrated on 6th January. In some areas of Germany it is a public […]

  7. emma Says:

    Wikipedia is definitly correct!

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