Three Kings Day/ Heilige Drei Könige
The Three Kings Day (Heilige Drei Könige) also known as the Epiphany is celebrated on the 6th of January. The holiday originates from the Three Kings or Wise Men from the Bible who followed the star that led to Jesus.
In early Christian centuries it was celebrated on the 6th of January and around the 4th century this holiday was moved to the 25th of December and celebrated as Christmas day as we know it. However, the celebration of Three Kings day has been maintained on the 6th of January.
In Germany, this day marks the end of Christmas time. Children dress up as the three kings, carry a star on a pole and walk from house to house singing carols. House are sprinkled with holy water and the doorways marked with what many believe to be the initials of the three kings C+M+B (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar). Originally these letters were supposed to stand for the Latin phrase “Christus mansionem benedicat” which means “Christ bless this house”. This mark remains on the door until the next Three Kings day.
As the children go from door to door, they receive cookies, sweets and money. The money is donated to projects and relief programs for children in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Eastern Europe.
Although celebrated throughout the country, Three Kings Day is a legal holiday only in the regions Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria and Sachsen.