Chalk markings above doors - Germany

Three Kings Day - every year on January 6th

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noddy
whilst giving the standard tour of munich to some friends over the easter weekend we were trying to figure out what the chalk markings above the doors of some of the churchs and older buildings...

they look like algebraic equations...

e.g. 50 * C + 30 * 40 S

a shiney 1 cent coin to the first person who can tell me what they mean...
raylene
It's just a bullshit Catholic superstition. The numbers are just the year, and the letters are C M B if I remember correctly, the initials of the three wise men.

So it looks something like 20 + C + M + B + 04 this year. Hmm, doesnt have that many +s though does it.

Anyway its not just public buildings and churchs, some superstitous families have it above every friggen door in their house.
Spookyfella
Correct, it is the initials of the three wise men,

Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, plus the year.
butterbean
someone's put them on the door to my closet in the cellar of my building. how odd, yet at least I know what it is now!
raylene
Actually I messed up.

C M B stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat which means Jesus save this house.

The three wise men thing is just what is popularly believed. Its written on the doors in january.
noddy
excellent, i believe it is written like so:

20 * C + M + B * 04

i was sure there was some *s in there...
Spookyfella
Wow, I stand corrected.

Thankyou.

We live and learn!
Bransby
Not to be confused with the chalk markings left by the Schornsteinfeger

Attached image
noddy
more confusion!!! what do the schornsteinfeiger markings look like bransby?
bubblylady
i was taught in school about the three wise men who come in the beginning of January and bless the house. Mostly children who sing, collect money and sweets. The Latin makes more sense though.
profundo
Epiphany or DreiKoinigsFest is the 13 day after Christmas (or after the 12 days of Christmas).
Apparently the chalk markings mean either or both of the above.

From German and German/American Traditions of Holidays

Epiphany
On the evening before Three Kings, traditionally there were prayers, blessed dried herbs would be burnt and their aromatic smell would fill the house. Doorways would be sprinkled with holy water and the master of the house would write with chalk C + M + B and the year above the house and barn door and say: "Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar, behütet uns auch für dieses Jahr, vor Feuer und vor Wassergefahr." ("CMB, protect us again this year from the dangers of fire and water.") C + M + B has traditionally been translated with Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, however, according to the Church it stands for "Christus Mansionem Benedictat" (Christ bless this home).
Elfenstar
can someone post a photo differentiating the marking by the chimney sweep and the three kings blessing? i think there is still some confusion. i know i didn't recogzie the chimeny sweeps markings til after he'd come and wanted to climb thoruhg my window to check our "chimney".

i know where my bf's parents live, the kids come around singing, all dressed up in costume's of the three wise men, plus caring their respective gifts for the baby jesus (myhrr, etc.). when they're done, you usually are supposed to donate some money which is usually for whatever organization they're with and then they mark the date on your door with chalk.
Granny
The only thing I can add to the correct information given, is that the feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, is in memory of the time when the Magi (3 wise men) came to see the baby Jesus at Bethlehem. Hence the reason for the children in costume.

The collection in our church goes to under-privileged children but each church will choose their own charity.
butterbean
just took another look at the marks on my cellar door last night: 19 + C+ M + B + 45

surely it hasn't been there since 1945??
roro
perhaps a dodgy 4 - which should be a nine?
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