Three Kings Day, January 6th
The day has come when all the Christmas decor should be taken down and stored away for next year. January 6th is Epiphany, or Three King's Day, and is a public holiday in some areas of Germany. Three King's Day is the day the wise men arrived in Bethlehem with gifts to present to the Christ child. These men, named Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar followed the star of Bethlehem across the desert to meet the baby Jesus. With them, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gold represented Jesus' royal standing, the myrrh his mortality, and the frankincense his diving birth.
During the day of January 6th, you may have visitors dressed as the three kings at your door. They are there to offer blessings and accept donations. They may mark your door or give you a sheet of paper with the markings printed. So, what do these markings mean and why are they there?
The markings are typically done with chalk, which has been blessed by a Catholic priest. Here is how the code is broken down:
20 and 18: This is the current year
*: represents the star of Bethlehem
C, M, B: Christus mansionem benediktat which means "Jesus bless this house". It is also the initials of the three wise men, which many think the CMB stand for.
+++ : The Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit