Thursday, January 6, 2011

Three King's Day

Epiphany (aka Three King's Day) is the official end of the Christmas season.  In Austria, people take down their Christmas trees on January 6.  Children dressed as the three wise men sing the last Christmas carols (these are known as Sternsänger, "star singers") and mark houses with the blessing C+M+B and the year.  There is some argument over what CMB means:  either Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar or "Christus mansionem benedicat" (May Christ bless this house).

Some Americans may be uncomfortable by the representation of Balthasar in black-face.  This is done not to mock African people as it was in minstrel shows in the U.S., but to recreate as faithfully as possible the different ethnicities of the wise men who came from all corners of the earth.

Many thanks to the mother who gave her permission to post this video!

video

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