Three King's Day or Dreikönigstag in Germany.
I honestly didn't know much about this holiday until we moved to Germany years ago.
Living in other cultures you find differences in the way holidays are celebrated.
January 6th I had heard was the fest of the Epiphany. This was not something that we celebrated in the protestant tradition I was raised in in the United States.
This fest was based on the biblical story that tells of the Magi or Three Kings - traditionally known as Caspar, (or Kaspar or Gaspar) Melchior and Balthasar - who saw a bright star on the night Christ was born and followed it to Bethlehem.
There they found the Christ child and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
In England, January 5th is known as 12th night. This is the official end of the season's "Twelve Days of Christmas" counting from Christmas evening on December 25 to the fest of the Ephiphany on January 6.
We all know the old Christmas carol "The Twelve Day's of Christmas" where the "true love" gave gifts of french hens, golden rings and that very famous" partridge in a pear tree."
It's also said historically the traditional Yule log was also kept lit in homes until Twelfth Night in order to bring blessings and good fortune throughout the upcoming year.
In Germany, children go from house to house on Epiphany eve, singing carols and chalking your house with the traditional blessing of the magi. Often a Dreikonigskuchen or Three Kings Cake is also served that night to celebrate the occasion.
These were our very adorable Carol singers and collectors of money for 3rd world charities. I love the fact our donations to these "mini kings" who sang so sweetly for their money goes to help
less fortunate people.
When your donation is given they "Bless" your house with 20 C (standing for Caspar)+ M(standing for
Melchior) + B (standing for Balthasar) and the year 11 for 2011.
This is a tradition that I look forward to each year.
Happy 3 Kings Day everybody!