Preparing for Epiphany
On the 10th Day of Christmas…As people are boldly declaring “Christmas is over for another year”, and Christmas trees start prematurely appearing on street curbs, we are still very much embracing the Christmas season which – as in the famous song – of course lasts for twelve days. We’ve had a week filled with cookies and cocoa, candles and carols.
Now, with just two days of Christmas left, we are getting ready to celebrate the feast of Epiphany at the weekend. In Germany, it is more commonly known as ‘Heiliger Drei Königs Tag’ or in English, ‘Day of the Three Holy Kings’. In many parts of the country, children dress up as the three kings and travel from house to house with a star, singing Christmas and Epiphany carols. They are known as ‘Sternensänger’ (English: star singers). Originally they received sweets in return for their singing, but nowadays they collect money for charity. On each house in chalk, they would write above the door the year and the letters C-M-B. Many people believe these to stand for the names of the three kings, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, but it is actually the abbreviation for ‘Christus Mansionem Benedicat’ – Christ, bless this house!
We never actually had any star singers come to our house when we lived in Berlin, but they were a common occurrence in the village in Western Germany where I lived as a child (and where the above photo is from). Now that we’re in Scotland, we mark Epiphany with our boys by baking crown shaped cookies and of course finally having the three wise men arrive at our nativity until it is packed away for another year. Do you do anything to mark Epiphany? I’d love to hear about it, so please feel free to share in the comments below!