Austria: three kings bless your house
When? January 6.
The meaning. Praising the Magi (Three Wise Men) Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar who were led by the Star of Bethlehem to Baby Jesus and brought him Christmas gifts.
The way of celebration. On this day Austrian believers attend a solemn Mass at the church and organize a family dinner by the fireplace. The meal should be rich and abundant. This evening the boys are dressed in white robes and wear crowns on their heads. They carry long poles with a star on top and go singing from house to house blessing their owners. This ceremony is called “A procession of Three Wise Men”. According to the custom, the owner of the house writes above the door the initial letters of the kings’ names: “C, M, B” (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar), indicates the year and draws a cross. This means:“God blesses this house”. Such notice will protect the house and its inhabitants from misfortune.
Family traditions. Christina Podesser, the mother of two daughters from Villach, tells: “On the day of Epiphany we are looking forward to the visit of the Magi who come to see us at home, sing songs and bring good wishes for the family. This is a special moment for the children who sit quietly, contemplating what is going on with shining eyes and listen to the Kings’ songs. Then we meet our parents, in-laws and siblings. The whole family gets together and we make a family trip to either the beautiful city or the forest lake or the mountains. We walk together and talk, sing together and enjoy family time. At the end of this holiday we visit a restaurant and have a delicious dinner. The Epiphany provides the finale of the Christmas holidays for us. It is a real start of the year with the stop of the daily grind”. (Recherche, Text Vita Vitrenko)
1. Christina Podesser with her younger daughter is waiting for Three Kings (Magi).
2. Three Wise Men (Magi) on the Greek icon.