Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Three kings day

Yesterday was three kings day and that brought up some good old memories from my youth in Germany. As a young impressionable boy I was a catholic altar boy for quite a few years, and a few times during the time I was selected by our priest to be part of a "Sternsinger" group on three kings day (Epihany). Basically this is how that worked. Several groups of 3 kids (mostly altar boys in our town) were dressed up like the three kings Gaspar, Melchior and Bathasar and then were sent from house to house in a specific neighborhood to bless the homes by writing the initials of the three kings C + M + B and the appropriate year over the doors of the homes they visited. Not only do the letters stand for the initials of the kings, but of the phrase christus mansionem benedicat, which translates as "may Christ bless the house."

The home owners usually were quite grateful for the blessing and offered the "three kings" candy and other goodies. Since it is usually quite cold and nasty on January 6th in Southern Germany, some home owners then offered to warm us up with liquor. Mind you that we were about 14 years old at the time and while I have never liked alcohol, some fellow kings were not so shy about it and at the end of the tour of homes, some of them were quite wasted. :-)

Ah, the good old times.

No image of the author was available, so this google image will have to do

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is very interesting Herr Krabel. Mark McOmie