Family Magazine

Why Are There Letters on Doors?

By Ladyexpat
Last night we have a few visitors stop by our house.  If you live in Germany or travel through Germany during the first part of January, you will sometimes see letters on the top of people's doors. Germans call the holiday, Dreikönigstag (Three Kings' Day). Typically in Germany, on January 6th, children in groups of three (symbolising the three kings) proceed in costume from house to house while singing songs.  In our town 4 kids and one adult stopped by our house.  They were dressed up, sang a few songs to us, and collected money for a local charity.  After their songs they wrote a blessing on our door.  One of the children wrote 20 * C + M + B + 11.  My friend told me the letters have two meanings. They are the initials of the customary names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. They also abbreviate the Latin words “Christus Mansionem Benedicat”, “May Christ bless the house”. The year is divided before and after the these letters. The crosses (+) represent the protection of the Christ."  She said that this is not just a Catholic blessing but is used by many faith traditions.  
This was the first time the kids visited our house and this is our third year in Germany.  When I mentioned this to one of my neighbors he said they come every year.  Not sure why we had not seen them until this year. Here are a few pictures from the group.

Why are there letters on doors?

Our visitors

Why are there letters on doors?

Blessing on our door

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