ADORATION OF THE MAGI

Adorazione dei Magi

The Church celebrates today, on January 6, the feast day of the Epiphany. Although the name, from the Greek ἐπιφάνεια ("manifestation"), indicates its origin as a celebration of the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ, Western Christianity and most traditions today focus on the visit of the three Magi to the Christ child; for this reason, the feast is also known simply as Three Kings' Day.

One of the main and most known traditions surrounding the Epiphany is that of the Sternsinger in German-speaking Europe. On this day, in Austria, Südtirol, parts of Germany, and Switzerland, groups of four children travel from door to door while dressing up as the three Magi (plus the leader of the group carrying a wooden star). After singing traditional carols, the kids usually receive treats from the people at each stop and invite them to donate money for charitable purposes. As thanks, the four then perform the traditional house blessing: they mark the front door of the house with chalk by inscribing the current year, along with the initials of the Three Wise Men.

 

"Adoration of the Magi", illuminated initital "E" from the manuscript "Missal, use of Aix-en-Provence", ms. 0011, p. 082, 1423, Bibliothèque municipale (Cité du Livre - Bibliothèque Méjanes), Aix-en-Provence.

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