When you traveled to Germany, have you ever wondered what does the symbol 20*C+M+B+19 mean?
We noticed the symbols written in chalk on the frame above the front door of many houses when we recently traveled to Monschau, Bad Munstereifel, Cochem, and other villages around Eifel national park.
These symbols are used to bless one’s home in a Christian tradition. The letters C, M, B abbreviates the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The letters are also seen as initials of the traditional names of the biblical magi/ three wise men/ three kings who visited Jesus after his birth. They are Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
The numbers on 20*C+M+B+19 are the blessing year. In this example is 2019.
This tradition is practiced not only in Germany but also in Detroit, Chicago, and other places. The front door mark has usually started the epiphany or sometimes called the three kings day. The next three kings’ day will be Monday 6 January 2020.
Do you want to take part in this tradition?
Ask your priest to bless your chalk, and after the three kings’ day, you can bless your home.
Take the blessed chalk and mark on the wall above or beside your front door:
20 * C + M + B + 20
The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar
May Christ bless the house
Or you can use pre-printed stickers with adhesive backing featuring the Epiphany Blessing. These stickers are also broadly used in Germany.