Magic of amber
January 6th, day of Epiphanie, calls back(reminds) the first demonstrations(appearances) of the divinity of the Christ (the dove coming down(falling) from the sky and the voice(vote) which is listened during the baptism of the Christ, the water changed in wine during the wedding at Cana). In the Germanic regions, he(it) is placed under the sign of the Three Kings, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, who went(surrendered) to Bethlehem to pay their respects and their offerings to king who had been born. The worship(cult) of the Three Kings is alive in Alsace since the end of the XIIè century. Bosses and pélerins, they protect houses and their inhabitants. To protect itself from fires and from floods, we draw their initials ( C.M.B). On the doors of the house. Even nowadays, especially in Sundgau, craftsmen(architects) and Storekeepers draw with some chalk, in the back shop, a small heart with letters C.M.B. They so want to put their work under the protection of the Three Kings.
One century ago, we made bless in the Roman Catholic Churches of drills(locks) soaked with wax. We cut these drills(locks) and, with the obtained pieces, we affixed letters C.M.B. on the front door of the living house to protect this one. In many villages, three young people disguised as Three Kings: the one held a censer, the second carried(wore) a casket, the third a stick topped with a star. They went of house to house, sang some bed songs and received, in return, candies. (...)
At the beginning of the last century, the bakers and the pastry cooks offered the Twelfth-Night pancake to their best customers, as the pharmacists offered the same day, a red wine-based stimulant was called Hypocrace. Certain bakers kept this custom up to the World War II. This January 6th, in the calendar, was formerly called das big neue Jahr, the big new year. The period of twelve intercalary days symbolizing twelve months of the year ended. The "normal" social life resumed its rights. With the party of Epiphanie comes to an end the cycle of Christmas.
The next day, in the Alsatian families, we skin the fir tree of its attires and we tidy up the day-nursery.
Extraits du livre "l'Alsace et ses fêtes" - Georges Klein - Gérard Leser - Freddy Sarg - DIFAL ERCE Jérôme Do Bentzinger