Sunday, January 6, 2013
Today is Dreikönigstag, Epiphany, and the 12th day of Christmas, which signals the end of the Christmas holidays here in Germany. Tomorrow school and work resume. In the States, for the most part, school and work resumed on Jan. 2 - as soon after New Year's Day as possible. Then again, the Christmas season in the U.S. started right after Thanksgiving (if not before), which was Nov. 22 this year.
On Dreikönigstag here in Germany, groups of children called Sternsinger go from house to house dressed in kingly costumes and carrying a lighted star. Our lads wore VfB Stuttgart hats instead of crowns, but we'll leave that alone. They sing a song, recite a poem about the three kings, write a blessing on the door frame, and collect a donation for a charity. This year the money raised goes to children in need in Tanzania. People whom they visit may also give them a treat - some chocolate, candy, etc. - to give them energy to carry on through the day and evening.
20...13 is the current year.
The * represents the Star of Bethlehem.
C M B stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat** ("Christ Bless this House" in Latin)
The three crosses represent the trinity.
**It is a common misconception that the C M B stands for the intials of the names of the three kings, which coincidentally are Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar.
The blessing stays on the door until the next Dreikönigstag, when the entire blessing is wiped off and rewritten for the new year.
It's been a lovely first Christmas here in Bildechingen, and I'm sorry to see it go. But now it's on to the new year and the adventures it brings!