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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Germany Series at GermanPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind German holidays and observances. I’m Matt, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 10. Epiphany.
In this lesson, we will discuss how people celebrate January 6th in Germany, a holiday known as Dreikönigsfest. According to the Christian tradition, the three kings are remembered on this day, and it is also known as Epiphany or Three Kings' Day, or in German Tag der Heiligen Drei Könige. In the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Sachsen-Anhalt, January 6 is a statutory holiday.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
On January 6, what do people do with the Christmas trees decorated at Christmas time?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
On January 6, children dressed as the Three Kings go from door to door singing songs and collecting money for charitable purposes, then write the phrase 20 * C + M + B + 13 on a chalkboard or on the door. Do you know what it means? The letters C, M, and B stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which is Latin and means "Christ bless this house" or in German Christus segne dieses Haus. The numbers at the beginning and the end stand for the corresponding year. In 2013, the carolers therefore wrote 20 * C + M + B + 13 on the front walls, and in 2014 wrote 20 * C + M + B + 14.
The Three Kings, followed the star of Bethlehem to lead them to the manger of Jesus. Since they brought precious gifts for baby Jesus, they were considered kings by some people. Their gifts were gold, myrrh, which is derived from tree gum, and incense, which comes from the incense tree, known as Weihrauchbaum.
The relics of the Three Kings, which were gifted to the Archbishop in 1164 by Emperor Barbarossa, are kept in the shrine of the Three Kings in Cologne Cathedral, where they can be seen even today. The Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom, at 157.38 meters, is the second tallest church in Germany.
Did you know? Due to the presence of the relics of the Three Kings, the Cologne Cathedral was a significant place of pilgrimage in the past, which is why some restaurants in Germany still have names such as The Crown or The Star.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
On January 6, what do people do with the Christmas trees decorated at Christmas time?
On this day, many families dispose of their Christmas trees on the road outside their homes so they can be picked up by proper disposal authorities. According to the Catholic doctrine, the holiday season also ends on this day. However, some people choose to keep their Christmas tree up a little longer, as according to the evangelical doctrine, the Christmas period technically ends on February 2.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you also celebrate Epiphany in your country?
Leave a comment telling us at GermanPod101.com. Until next time!