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January 6: Epiphany, and the Star Singers

4496781-St..ger-Germany.jpg
A Star Singers' blessing

The Christmas season officially lasts until Epiphany, also called the Day of the Holy Three Kings, on January 6.
In the Christian churches Jan 6 is also the day of Christ's baptism (hence Epiphany). In Cologne January 6 is a high church holiday, since Cologne cathedral preserves the relics of the Three Holy Kings, or Three Magi.

Only in three federal states it is a public holiday, though: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt. To everyone else it is a workday like any other. Scholl holidays usually last beyond Jan 6, though, so it is a popular season for winter holidays. All ski resorts can be expected to be very very busy.

4445908-St..ger-Germany.jpg
German postage stamp
NB: Just in case anyone supects copyright issues.
According to German law, postage stamps are considered
gemeinfrei, i. e. the images are free to use.
The rgeatest quality about postage stamps is,
in my humble opinion, how they sum up a big topic
in one little image of 2 x 3 or 3 x 4 centimetres.

Sternsinger

In the first days of the new year around Epiphany (January 6), the Sternsinger (star singers) will be around: groups of children dressed up as the Three Magi and their company. They visit houses, sing their song and leave a blessing for the house and its inhabitants. In return they collect money – not for themselves but for charity!

The Sternsinger groups are officially sent out by the catholic church, the protector of the campaign is the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. So there is no reason to be suspicious about these kids. They raise a lot of money every year for Misereor, the catholic charity organisation. Don’t let them go away empty-handed.

The blessing is written in chalk above the door and should stay there all year. The inscription is 20 C + M + B 09 : the year, and “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” = Christ may bless this house. At the same time the three letters are the initials of the Three Magi’s names, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.

Posted by Kathrin_E 04:29 Archived in Germany Tagged germany events holidays traditions customs

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