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Dreikönigsfest (Epiphany, Feast of the 3 Kings)

  • Was ist Dreikönigsfest? (What is Epiphany?)
    • Epiphany is a Christian festival, which is annually celebrated in Germany on January 6 to mark the Magi’s (or 3 wise men’s) visit to baby Jesus.
    • It is also known as the Festival of the Three Kings, Epiphanie, Epiphanias, or Dreikönigsfest, Heilige drei Könige, and Erscheinung des Herrn in German.
    • Epiphany is also the end of the Weihnachtzeit or Christmas season.
    • January 6 is a public holiday in the German states of Bayern (Bavaria), Baden-Würtemberg, and Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt); Austria; and 3 cantons of Switzerland, as well as parts of Graubünden (Grisons).
  • Wortschatz zum Dreikönigsfest (Vocabulary at Epiphany)
  • Wie feiert man Dreikönigsfest? (How is Epiphany celebrated in Germany?)
    • Wunderabend (Night of Miracles)
    • Dreikönigsfest (Epiphany, Festival of the 3 Kings)
      1. Ursprung und Beschreibung (origin and description)
      2. The following practices and traditions are associated with Epiphany in German-speaking countries:
        • Speisen und Getränke (food and beverages)
        • Glauben und Aberglauben (beliefs and superstitions)
        • Sagen (legends)
        • die drei Könige (3 Wise Men or Kings)
        • Sternsingen (star singing)
        • Heischegänge (trick-or-treating)
        • Segen des Hauses (blessing of the house)
        • Man nimmt den Weihnachtsbaum ab. (People take down their Christmas tree.)
      3. Was macht man zum Dreikönigsfest? (What can you do on Epiphany?) The following activities are observed by the German people on Epiphany:
        • Some people in Germany attend a special church service.
        • If the church has a crib display during the Christmas period, the figures representing the Magi are placed in the crib on January 6.
        • People with a crib scene at home do the same. Children learn about the story of the 3 wise men and may act out the whole Christmas story.
        • Homes and stables in rural areas are cleansed by burning frankincense and allowing the smoke to spread through the rooms.
        • People in some areas gather on Epiphany Eve (January 5) to drink to the health and luck of the family and friends in the coming year. Special beer, known as Bockbier, is brewed for this purpose. This type of beer has a stronger taste and a higher percentage of alcohol than other beers.
        • Man segnet das Haus um vor Unglück und schaden zu schützen. (One blesses his house to protect it from misfortune and damage.)
        • Sternsingen (star singing): Groups of children go from house to house dressed as the 3 wise men between December 27 and January 6. They knock on the door of each house and sing hymns about Jesus' birth and the Magi’s visit. If the door is opened, they ask for money for a specific charity, and often they receive candy and treats (Streich oder Süßigkeit or Heischegänge, trick-or-treating)
        • Sternsinger also help children around the world, by raising funds for children’s aid projects worldwide.