Wednesday, 4 January 2012

field and fountain, moor and mountain

Epiphany (or Drei Königs Tag for the Three Wise Men, the Magi, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar) is celebrated this week all over the German Sprachraum. Children of the community dress as Sternsinger and troop from house to house, collecting donations for good causes and in return blessing the home for the year in gratitude. It is, however, not a holiday in most places, including ironically the state of Nord Rhein Westphalia where the city of Köln is located.
The magnificent showcase of the Kölner Dom is the reliquary of the holy remains of the Magi remembered on this day. Here is a picture of it against the city skyline, rather dreary and pixilated and taken years ago.  We need to visit the city together to see the relics and re-capture some of the amazing scenes.  Not only did this purpose-built cathedral draw many pilgrims, it represented progress and innovation in architecture.

Drei Königs Tag also marks some other Christmas traditions, like jettisoning the tree, with ceremony, over one's balcony and ensuring all remaining Christmas treats are dispatched of, and begins Carnival season, which Köln is also famous for, in earnest--plus some folk-wisdow to prognosticate the weather: if Winter hasn't come by now (which for us it has not) then Winter won't be coming.