Hi this is Leslie Harris, and today’s the day!
Many years ago, I had a landlady who told me that on January 5th or 6th, I was to write C+M+B on a piece of paper and tape it over my doorway. She explained that it’s because January 6th is the Feast of the Three Kings, also known as the Epiphany – C for Caspar, M for Melchior, and B for Balthazar. (It can also stand for the Latin blessing, Christus mansionem benedicat or May Christ Bless this home) She said that this was to bless my livestock, which at that point was one cat.
Well, I have a few more cats now, plus I foster cats.
I have since learned a little more about this tradition. It is actually customary to write the year on either side of the letters, like this:
20 C+M+B 24
I have also learned that this is a way of blessing one’s home, not just one’s livestock, and that the writing is customarily done in chalk. This picture is what I wrote over my own doorway before I left for work.
(btw, I don’t practice Catholicism, but I love this tradition and I do it every year)
So bundle up and get out there with your chalk! It can be any color, and some people even bless the chalk. Maybe even have a King Cake.
Do you celebrate the Epiphany? What are some other ways that you celebrate? Let me know in the comments.