Yesterday (6th of January), was Epiphany or King’s Day, Königstag in German. I had the pleasure of having Robin Rivera as my guest to share her memories and traditions regarding Epiphany. If you missed her beautiful post, the second of Discovering Traditions, then you can read that here. Today, I want to share my own memories of the Königstag.
While being a very young Child in Germany, I lived near Cologne, the 6th of January was be a public holiday (if I recall correctly), on that day children older than myself (aged about 9 or 10), dressed up as the three wise men with a star, would come from door to door asking for a little money that would be given to a charitable project with their church. In exchange they wrote the number of the year and the letters of the three kings on the doorframe with consecrated chalk. Blessing the home or house for the year to come. This year you will be able to read:
20 + C + M + B + 16
For me this always meant “Caspar Melchior Balthasar”, but apparently it stands for: “Christus mansion benedicat”. In Austria I have seen that not only main doors to houses bear these letters, even important rooms receive their blessing.
I never had the chance to be a star singer myself, but that might have been due to the fact that I was not not catholic.
Now, living in France I celebrate with a Galette des Rois, which I actually discovered while living in the US. There I volunteered to make one for extra credit in my French class, it was not made with almonds but with Raspberries and the fève, baby, coin or figurine that one might find within the cake was replaced by a coffee bean (in french fève de café). I can highly recommend that you read a bit about the Galette des Rois on Evelye Holingue’s blog, she took the tradition to the US and learnt how to make her own cake.
© Solveig Werner 2016. All rights reserved.