Three kings ritual explained: Three kings ritual | Creepypasta Wiki

Deconstructing Two Recent Urban Legends: #1 The Three Kings.

Top5s is a young Welsh vlogger who has been on YouTube since 2014. I have been watching his videos week in and week out for more weeks than I can count, and they make profitable viewing for any sticky-fingered middlebrow writer such as I. The lists shuffle the topics of ghosts, UFOs, cryptozoology, conspiracy theories, and gory facts from history. They are always fun and on occasion genuinely scary. You are meant to watch these videos under the bedsheets in the dead of night, which is when they are often uploaded.

Everything in the videos is detailed scrupulously and with a boyishly earnest even-handedness that makes me think of a school report being read out to the class. Top5s used to gabble at the beginning but his voice has since slowed down and become silken and intimate. It is full of personality, but his name, face, and biography are otherwise unknown to his over two million subscribers. He has clearly gone native and become a bit of a phantom himself.

He always manages to cobble together roughly five of everything. I suppose that Top5s must have a pen drive somewhere containing all of the ghost and monster stories that had never made it into the final 5s. This could be turned into a book for Santa to give to disobedient children. A bumper volume of sixth-rate alien abductions, overly peaceful haunted houses, and pictures of apparitions that are even grainier and more inconclusive than the norm allows.

This year’s Top5s Halloween video was entitled “5 Terrifying Paranormal Ritual Instructions & Gone Wrong Stories…” Three of them I can no longer remember, but two of them – the Three Kings ritual and the elevator game – have been playing intermittently on my mind ever since Halloween. The region of my brain that these stories have infested will not be settled again until I have written about them. So how do they function – what is the actual contract with the reader?

The instructions for the Three Kings ritual were first submitted to a Reddit forum in 2012 by the user FableForge. According to these instructions, you need to set up three chairs in a special, windowless room in your house. The middle chair, facing north, will be your chair. This is the throne. There should be a chair to either side of the throne, facing it, and a large mirror should be propped up on each one. These chairs will be for the Queen and the Fool. When you sit on the throne, you should be visible out of the corners of your eyes in each mirror.

An electric fan should be left humming behind the throne. A bucket of water and a cup should be placed on the floor just beyond your reach. With everything set up, you are then meant to turn your back on this room, leaving it in darkness and with the door, importantly, open.

You are supposed to have a helper. They should be briefed on their responsibilities before you go to bed.

Next, you are somehow meant to sleep until 3.30am. You should hug some precious, childhood object in your sleep – you are at liberty to choose what, though a live tortoise or a bouncy castle would be implicitly ruled out as impractical. I have heard of participants hugging a photograph of a loved one and even a Game Boy console. Whatever the item is, this is your power object.

At 3.30am your alarm clock will wake you. You have three minutes to reach the throne, but you must proceed by candlelight, as well as bearing your phone and your power object. If the door is closed (it was previously open) or if the fan is off (it was previously on) or if you don’t make it to the throne by 3.33am, then you basically have to flee the building at top speed. You’ll be sleeping in the park for the rest of the night. Some online instructions for the Three Kings claim that it should be safe to return by 4.44am, but FableForge’s original rules had stipulated that your home would be only habitable again by 6am. This is presumably not an area where it pays to be careless.

If you finally come to be installed securely on the throne, then it can begin. What exactly “it” is remains unspecified. FableForge refers to it as “the Shadowside”:

I won’t spoil what happens next. Suffice to say, you won’t be alone and if you have questions, you’ll get answers. Sometimes in the form of new questions, but hey, that’s the story of humanity eh? Just stay put and try not to move. Again, DO NOT look directly at the mirrors, nor the candle. Just straight ahead, trust me.

After this, the instructions proceed to direct how you can be recovered from your session. You are always able to put some distance between yourself and the Shadowside by gripping your trusty power object. Whatever happens, the candle that you are holding can never go out and you are also not allowed to get off the throne until 4.44am. At 4.44am, your helper should phone you to terminate the ritual. If you are uncontactable by phone, they should enter the room and pour a draught of water from the bucket, summoning you back.

This is a rich meal, a brilliantly imaginative and thrilling story, and it is easy to see how it has swept countless teenaged minds before it across the internet. Yet part of its appeal is that the instructions, despite requiring an array of ordinary household items, are just very slightly too irksome to be ever a contemplatable prospect. In truth, these supposedly user-friendly instructions map out something of an odyssey to the spirit world. Most of the people who are young and foolish enough to be attracted to the ritual will end up being deterred by their own lack of organisational skills.

You need to be old enough to live in a house or a flat by yourself, which immediately sets the bar too high for most young people. It is scarcely possible for a young person to set up a Satanic seating arrangement in the middle of their family home at night and not expect an invasion of dogs, cats, derisive siblings, and infuriated parents. For older young people, there must be no annoying flatmates around to play such pranks as, say, leaving a whoopee cushion on the throne. The player’s helper also needs to be peculiarly devoid of curiosity and wait outside the room for over an hour. The kind of household where the Three Kings can be played will be therefore psychologically elusive to many.

A windowless room is hard to come by in the average UK suburban home, though it is different with Edinburgh’s tenement apartments. My own box kitchen would qualify – I am always comparing this dingy, claustrophobic space to the common room of a submarine.

Next, there are more practical challenges. I suspect that over ninety per cent of players wake up at 3.30am, think “nope!,” roll over and return to a far less onerous dreamland. For many who persist, there will be a certain matter-of-factness to being awake at 3.30am, to feeling cold and impatient, which is at odds with the suggestibility that is meant to fuel the game.

If the player makes it as far as the throne room, they will discover that this game is mined with abundant opportunities for self-sabotage. Firstly, and most obviously, the door may be closed. Doors that are left open tend to close by themselves for all sorts of tiny reasons. Even if the door is still open, the adventurer may take fright at the coolness of this refrigerated room (there has been a fan blowing inside for several hours). The fan may blow out the candle, especially if the player is unused to handling candles. Those heavy mirrors are leaning on chairs that were never intended to take their weight, and brushing against them, or some subtle pressure on the floorboards, could lead to them losing their purchase with a bang. The sleepy player need only activate any of these trip-wires and they will be left scampering in panic, straight back to the warm bed that this game has left yawning helpfully as a bolthole.

But what reports have come back from the spirit world?

Nothing has ever really stuck, or at least the democratic complexion of Reddit’s forums means that no account has ever managed to stand out from amongst the others. Various stories were eagerly posted on Reddit after FableForge’s original submission and there quickly emerged the same vibe as the Slender Man mythos, which was woven out of that half-competitive, half-collaborative online storytelling that is generally known as “creepypasta.

FableForge’s post invited further stories and prescribed the format for them. He introduced his post by joking, “this is not creepypasta (at least not yet).” He duly set up a subreddit called Three Kings Corner, which to date has 884 individual posts, a proliferation of “experiences,” inquiries, discussion, and arcana about further rituals. These posts are initially readable and the stories are sometimes judiciously plotted, but the overall effect is rather a drone. Maybe the next M.R. James is somewhere on this forum but you would have to read through deserts before reaching such an oasis.

The rules of the Three Kings are apparently so strict that breaking them will send you to hell, or thereabouts, but they otherwise seem to be frequently bent whenever a story would benefit from it. For instance, Top5s has a cup of water being poured from the bucket to call back the player, which sounds like an ancient device from witchcraft lore, whilst Reddit’s storytellers tend to have the water being thrown all over the unresponsive player, which is obviously sexier.

Of course, flouting the rules will never fail to tip a good dose of suspense into your narrative. One of the greatest liberties to be taken with the game’s paraphernalia is to introduce a video camera. Originally, the player was meant to be alone in the room – even the helper was not allowed to enter until 4.44am – but several players have taken recording equipment in with them. This is potentially licensed by the allowance of the phone, but setting the phone up at a filmable distance would err from the ritual’s meticulous floorplan.

It is always a lone male adult who is documenting the mission and an hour or so of a grown man sitting talking to himself at four in the morning does not, I should add, make for electrifying viewing. He soon looks bored and disenchanted. You expect him to break into piteous self-recriminations – “Why am I doing this? What am I doing with my life?”

Squabbling over whether the rules are being followed correctly is already a substantial feature of the Three Kings experience. But in the only story that I can find in which FableForge describes playing the game himself, it emerges that the instructions were never in fact delivered whole from any supernatural authority. Instead, they were largely invented through a process of trial and error. His story is called “The origin of the Three Kings” and the setting is a Mexican juvenile detention centre where a gang of youngsters are experimenting with the Shadowside. FableForge recounts that he had set himself up as a sort of shaman to achieve prestige amongst the other Artful Dodgers:

I started by offering dream interpretations -that netted me some protection. Then I started giving advice on simple rituals, things I had read about and sometimes done myself like…. staring at your own reflection in the dark for half an hour. It’ll start to morph and look foreign (there are studies about this). I gave people tips on how to achieve lucid dreams (keep a journal, look for triggers, etc etc). At first it was meant to merely keep me from being mugged, but eventually it grew into actual power.

In a subsequent comment, FableForge disparages the usage of cameras:

I think the camera would not capture anything out of the ordinary. My theory is that these entities do not actually change the physical properties of light and sound, but just our perception of them… The camera would capture the actual scene, which would be very different from the visuals you’d be processing via your eyes at the time.

Taking a camera into the ritual is potentially such a serious breach because the camera is in danger of itself becoming a third mirror and a fourth king. If you believe that you are invoking malevolent spirits, then this will rile them up a treat. If you alternatively think, as FableForge sometimes appears to do, that the Shadowside is more of a psychological than a spiritual phenomenon, then the danger is that the ritual will just not work. The detachment that is your due from constantly commentating upon what you are seeing, as if you are presenting a live television programme, will undermine all of the necessary sensory immersion.

Although access to the supernatural is implicitly promised by FableForge’s original post, it often reads like meditation instructions. There is, for example, the warning not to perform the ritual under intoxicants. You begin to wonder whether something has been skilfully built into this ritual for the player to unlock. Perhaps the irksomeness of setting it up and going through with it all is supposed to weed out those without the required suggestibility, in the same manner that hypnotists can only work with certain mentalities.

For this reason, my research has not ranged to me completing the ritual myself. I would never submit to hypnosis or meditation – I have never taken hallucinogens such as LSD – simply because I shrink from these unreal states as a cat does water. The gift of healthy perception should be never regarded as a chip that can be traded away in pursuit of entertainment or selfish gratification. Yet I can well imagine how someone might get themselves into an unreal state using the Three Kings ritual.

Experiencing the illusion of a presence at the fringe of your vision can be a symptom of autoscopy, or the hallucinogenic shifting of perspective from your own body. In laboratory experiments, neurologists have manipulated amputees into attributing a desired sensation to an image in a mirror as if it was their own missing limb or digit. Throw in the potent suggestibility of candlelight; the “white noise” of the whirring fan that could easily serve as a meditator’s mantra; the paranoid consciousness of presences that you are not allowed to look at in your peripheral vision; and the terror of taking part in a ritual alone in the middle of the night; and your brain will surely cook up something pretty amazing. No wonder that FableForge refers to the Three Kings as “a recipe.”

Nonetheless, I started out by inquiring how the Three Kings ritual functions as a story and my conclusion seems to be that the instructions are in themselves a story and a first-rate one at that. Moreover, all of the following stories in Reddit’s chain ultimately pale in comparison because they cannot convey the hugeness of what is promised by FableForge’s complicated, multi-sensory psycho-sorcery. You sense that something terrible should show itself in those mirrors, something so terrible that you find your imagination is not quite up to specifying what. These small, plastic Reddit stories, which all have a go and are all as equal as frogspawn, never get near to describing what should rightfully flash up out of the Shadowside.

Reddit — Dive into anything

If you havent already you should check out «please dont try this» to understand what this is about.

Sorry everyone, got deleted because of my stupidity, apologies.

So let me start by saying I have never done anything like this before and had no idea what to expect, but I have always been more guts than brains so I figured what the hell, give it a shot.

I don’t have a basement in my apartment so I had to go to my dad’s house. I set up everything earlier in the afternoon, three wooden armless chairs, two big mirrors I borrowed from my stepmother. My “power object” was a watch from my grandfather.

I did deviate from the set up which you can read at “please don’t actually try this”, but only just a little. I did set the bucket and mug of water in the floor, but I had no idea what to do with it. I used a small box fan I placed several feet behind me on low, which was still rather strong. I used a three-inch pillar candle on a plate for my candle. I got nervous and completely forgot my cell phone, so much for that back up.

The basement itself is very large, it extends almost the entire length of the house and is unfinished so its bare cement and one room is framed but not yet dry walled. There are no windows; it still has that familiar basement feel.

Anyway, I set up like I said and tried to get some sleep on the couch while my gf painted. My alarm woke me up at 3:30 and I lit my candle in darkness and made my way down the steps to the basement, she sat by the door at the top of the stairs and read while I went in. When I went down the stairs I was extremely nervous and excited and I forced myself to stare at my hands and the candle flickering between them and nothing else. Immediately when I entered I felt like someone was in the room with me, a definite presence. I made my way to my throne being very careful not to knock anything over or to look at the mirrors and took my seat between the two mirrors and stared directly ahead into the darkness.

I sat there very still for several minutes staring into the darkness and trying to concentrate while the candle flickered in my hands. The dim light made it feel like everything around me was jumping and moving and I kept seeing my reflection dancing in the mirror in my peripheral. Shortly thereafter I started to feel as if the room had no walls, there was a sense of emptiness like I was in the middle of a never-ending blackness.

I sat there trying not to get freaked out by the feeling of openness when I started seeing movement in the mirrors on both sides of me, they moved even when I didn’t and when I shielded my eyes from the candle trying to eliminate the glowing under my face they still moved. At this point I began to get really nervous and focused really hard, trying to make sense of the things I was seeing in my peripheral and fighting the urge to just LOOK. Focusing so hard on my peripheral and the steady hum of the fan behind me started to give me a headache. I was trying so hard to see without looking that I didn’t notice at first when I started hearing the murmuring. It didn’t sound like whispering, it sounded more like listening to conversation through a pillow and I don’t know how long I heard it before I realized it wasn’t just in my head. At first I thought I was imagining it and I leaned forward trying to hear better (because for some reason it made sense at the time). But the fan sounded like a hurricane and I felt like I couldn’t hear over it. I kept seeing movement in the glass as I was leaning forward and I resisted the urge to look.

I asked if I was alone and the murmuring went silent. I waited several minutes in silence on the edge of my seat, I don’t think I breathed. I resisted the urge to bolt up the stairs like a little kid. “Who am I talking to? I asked.

“Someone who knows.” Came from my left. “Yourself.” Came from my right. Both answers were clear as a bell. I seriously got the creeps and considered putting the candle out but instead- “Someone who knows what?” I asked.

I heard some more murmuring coming from both sides, both talking over each other and I couldn’t make out anything that was said except- “Why you’re here.” The movement in the glass seemed to increase on both sides, it seemed to be not just moving in, but coming OUT of the glass toward me on my left and I leaned away a little and almost tipped my chair over.

I started hearing things around me in the room, breathing, ticking, a knock here and there and while I was listening to it go on all around me and feeling surrounded they bickered with each other, sometimes I wasn’t even sure what about except that they were talking about me, and the one on my left knew things I had never told anyone. My doubts about faith, the mean things I’d said to friends in fights, etc, and moreso, things I wouldn’t even repeat here. I felt like the one on my left was trying to like…lure me from my chair, it wanted to show me things.

At a certain point I felt like something was right behind me and I felt like the conversation was getting further away from me, I leaned forward straining to hear better and realized after a few tense minutes that the steady hum of the fan was gone. I don’t remember when it went off, I didn’t even notice except that by the time I did realize it I was getting hot and stuffy.

When i noticed the fan was off i panicked and jumped out of my seat and dropped the candle at which point it went out. I grabbed the candle and tried to relight it again because i figured it was like, bad voodoo for the candle to go out and i only had a few seconds to light it or something but it wouldn’t light which freaked me out more (candle wax on the wick) i bolted for the light switch and cut it on and left the room.

My gf was sitting outside the door waiting for me and asked me what happened and said she had checked on me a couple times, knocking on the door and calling down to me and heard “i’m fine”. Aside from that, she never heard anything from inside the room. I’m not sure what exactly happened in there or if I am crazy. If anyone has questions feel free to ask and I’ll answer as best I can. But that’s my experience with the three kings, that being said I am FASCINATED and will certainly be trying this again soon with maybe a little less nerves and a little more preparation of what to expect. And if anyone has anything else for me to try, send me the suggestion and ill do it, it was a crazy experience.

Also, in spite of what I have been told, I am just overly curious and I HAVE to know what you see when you look in the mirrors, so I plan on trying this again soon, and I WILL look in the mirror next time. That being said- Fable I am going to do it of my own volition and you have zero responsibility in the outcome lol.

EDIT: Samples of what was said to me. Not word for word, but as close as i can remember.

A few years ago my best friend of over a decade killed himself. And this was the first thing it attacked me with.

Left: «You let him die, its your fault.» Me: «its not my fault, i didn’t know he was in that deep.» Left: «because you never cared about anyone but yourself.» Me: «thats not true.» Left: «Yes it is, but thats okay, come on over here and see him now…»

Later on: Left: «You are going to hell, you are going to burn!» Me: «I have faith.» Right: «You cant lie to us.»

Three Kings — pani Hania — LiveJournal


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January 6 marks the end of Christmas and New Year celebrations. On this day Vilnius celebrates the feast of the Three Kings, during which a theatrical procession takes place through the streets of the Old Town.

Seven main characters take part in the theatrical procession — the three-meter-high Kings (magi) Kaspar, Melchior and Balthazar (Kasparas, Merkelis and Baltazaras), the archangel and the shepherds.

Three kings wish the city a fruitful, successful year and bring gifts to the manger (nativity scene) on the main square of Vilnius.

What is the meaning of this holiday? The Feast of the Three Kings is dedicated to one of the most famous episodes of the New Testament — when three kings (or three wise men) come from Persia to the newborn Jesus Christ, led by the star of Bethlehem: Caspar, Baltasar, Melchior. And, kneeling before the baby as before the future king of Judah, they leave him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

There is another ritual associated with the Three Kings, which already existed in the 16th century.
Chalk is consecrated in churches, with which the letters K + M + B are then written on the doors of the house, protecting from evil spirits, and lightning is drawn. This custom was first mentioned in a Lithuanian collection of sermons in the 16th century.
It was believed that these signs will save homeowners from the machinations of dark forces and natural disasters.

The procession ends with a performance based on the biblical story «Bethlehem».

All photos taken from

Postcard from the 30s of the 20th century about the feast of the Three Kings in Vilnius

Illustration by M. Leszczynski, 1917.

The feast of the Three Kings takes place on the eve of the Orthodox Christmas, which is celebrated by many residents of Lithuania. And from some holidays we smoothly move on to others 🙂

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    Feast of the «Three Kings»: sveta_lana4 — LiveJournal

    Tomorrow Catholic Europe celebrates the «Three Kings».

    This day Western Christians complete the winter cycle of Christmas holidays. For Catholics, this is the day of the Epiphany (in Greek — Epiphany).

    Who are these three kings whose day is celebrated in some countries of Western Europe? These are the Magi, Eastern sages who came to bow to the Divine Infant Jesus Christ and brought him gifts — incense, myrrh and gold. Arriving in Jerusalem, they asked everyone: “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Their names were Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar.

    King Herod, learning about the purpose of their arrival, was afraid that the newborn King would take away his royal power, and decided to secretly kill the Christ Child. However, he told the wise men: “Go, find out all about the Child, and when you find him, let me know, because I also want to go and worship Him. ” In fact, Herod only wanted to know the place where Christ was in order to send his people there to kill Him.

    The Magi promised Herod to fulfill his request and went to Bethlehem. The star again shone in the sky and walked in front of the Magi, as if showing the way, and then suddenly stopped just above the place where the holy Infant was. The Magi rejoiced, entered the cave, saw the Infant with the Mother and, falling on their knees, bowed to him.
    The next night, an angel appeared to the Magi in a dream and told them not to return to Jerusalem, not to bring news of the Baby to King Herod. Then they returned to their home in a different way.

    The Bible narrates about this event, this event is also sung in the folk crib drama of the 14th century…

    Three kings from the east
    Went to Christ with gifts.
    Herod is before them,

    — Where are they going, you ask?

    — We go to the Born,

    We go to bow,

    Let’s go to bow,

    Appear before the King,

    If I bow,

    I will humble myself before the king,

    Where Christ is born, there the star will appear.

    A star will strike wonderfully,

    From the east until noon!


    The kings answer,

    — We go to the Born.

    We go to the Born,

    We will glorify him!

    — Well, go ahead,

    Yes, on the way back

    Turn me around,

    Tell me what you see!

    (the kings leave, approach the manger, bow)


    Three kings from the east
    They brought gifts to Christ,
    they fell on their knees,
    they glorified Christ.

    Lord God
    Honor is given a lot,
    Like the Savior was born
    The Human Race.

    An angel tells them,
    He guides them on the way:

    — Go another way,
    Do not go to Herod.

    Herod confuses,

    Magi summons,

    He beats babies!

    — We will not go to Herod,

    Otherwise we will return to our home!

    Song of the kings:

    Herod didn’t have
    Let’s go to our countries.
    They go to their countries,
    they glorify Christ:
    “We magnify thee, life-giver of Christ,
    We were born for the sake of the flesh
    From the Blessed and Most Pure Virgin Mary.”

    The feast was established in memory of the Baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River described in the Gospels (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22). It got its name because, according to Christian doctrine, during the Baptism of Jesus Christ, a special appearance of all three persons of the Godhead took place: God the Father testified from heaven about the baptized Son, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended on Jesus, thus confirming the Word of the Father.

    It was after the Baptism that Jesus began to enlighten people, illuminating them with the light of truth. In addition, in the Baptism of Christ, mankind partake of His Divine grace, having received in this sacrament the cleansing of living water, leading to eternal life. Therefore, the acceptance of the sacrament of Baptism is an indispensable condition for believers to belong to the Church (John 3:5).

    In ancient times, it was customary to perform the baptism of catechumens (or those who were “declared by Christian teaching”, that is, those preparing to receive the sacrament of Baptism) on the feast of Theophany, so the holiday was also called the Holy Day of Lights, or the Feast of Enlightenment.

    The feast of the Epiphany entered the church calendar in the middle of the 2nd century. and was first celebrated together with the Nativity of Christ (the Armenian Apostolic Church still adheres to this tradition).

    Thus, initially the holiday was dedicated to the remembrance of three gospel events: the Nativity of Christ, the adoration of the Magi, and the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan at the beginning of His ministry. The date of celebration almost universally was 6 January.

    In the 5th-6th centuries, the tradition of a separate celebration of the Nativity of Christ on December 25 appeared in the Church, and Theophany on January 6 began to be celebrated as a remembrance of the coming of the three wise men and the Baptism of the Lord. In the Middle Ages, in Orthodoxy, the holiday was also called Theophany (the Greek equivalent of the word «Theophany»), and in Catholicism — Manifestatio (Appearance). The further evolution of the meaning of the holiday went in Orthodoxy and Catholicism in different ways.

    In Orthodoxy, the feast of the Epiphany was increasingly linked in meaning to Baptism, losing connection with Christmas events. Currently, in Orthodoxy, Epiphany and Baptism are different names for the same holiday.

    In Catholicism, on the contrary, the feast of the Epiphany was increasingly associated with the gospel events after Christmas. As a result, the feast of Epiphany in the Latin rite is completely separated from the feast of Theophany and is celebrated on the following Sunday after Theophany.

    The central content of the Epiphany among Catholics is the church legend about the worship of the baby Jesus by the pagan kings — the magicians Caspar, Melchior and Belshazzar, who came with gifts to Bethlehem. The Feast of the Epiphany was also called Festum magorum («Feast of the Magi»), or Festum regum («Feast of the Kings»).

    In memory of the Epiphany to the pagans in Catholic churches on this day, a solemn service is performed, during which sacrifices are made to Christ: as a king — gold, as a god — incense, as a man — myrrh. After reading the Gospel, the dates of the movable Catholic holidays are announced.

    Also in churches on the feast of the Epiphany, chalk is consecrated, with which they then write the Latin letters “C.M.V.” on the doors of churches and houses, which is sometimes interpreted as the first letters of the names of the three Magi — Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar; and sometimes as the first letters of the Latin phrase «Christus mausionem benedicat», which means «May Christ bless this house». They believe that these letters drive away evil forces and evil thoughts from the house and from the well-being of the family living in it. The chalk is kept all year round, just like the water of the Orthodox. Until now, the tradition of burning bonfires has been preserved — “Epiphan fires”, illuminating the “path of the Magi”

    The folk tradition of the festival evolved in different ways.

    In Spain, for example, as in many other Spanish-speaking countries, it is on the feast of the Epiphany, and not on Christmas or St. Nicholas day, that children receive gifts. It is believed that they are spread by the Magi (in Spanish, los reyes magos — magician kings). In the old days, on this holiday it was customary to dress up as three wise men or kings and go from house to house. It was customary to treat such mummers well. This tradition continues to this day. With songs and poems about the three Magi-Kings, the birth of Christ, as well as with wishes of health to the owners, specially dressed people go from house to house. Dressed in long white shirts and with crowns on their heads, the children depict three kings. They should definitely be treated with sweets and give them money. Then they will draw with consecrated chalk on the door of the house three Latin letters: «K.M.B» — Caspar, Melchior and Belshazzar, who came with gifts to bow to the newborn Jesus in Bethlehem.

    It is these characters who become the protagonists of the Epiphany celebration. On the eve of the Epiphany, magnificent festive processions pass through the cities and large villages of Spain, the length of which can reach several kilometers. At the head of the parade are kids with drums, followed by adults with children on huge carriages, followed by a brass band. This procession is closed by a carriage with three magician kings. They generously distribute sweets and toys to children running after them.
    In different regions of Spain, the parade takes place in different ways: somewhere the kings are accompanied by a military escort and a military band, somewhere they enter the city on camels. One thing remains the same in all places where the Day of the Three Kings is celebrated — this is children’s joy, fun and expectation of gifts, because the Kings in Spain are greeted like Santa Claus in Russia.
    After the festive parade, children and their parents lay a table for the night, to which magic-kings come to eat at night. Children polish their shoes to a shine and put them out of the door, stuffed with straw, as a sign of the table set for kings. Having tasted the treats, the kings leave gifts in their shoes and continue on their way. If the child’s behavior this year was unsatisfactory, they pour coal into them.
    By the way, these also turn out to be sweets, outwardly almost indistinguishable from pieces of real coal. They are sold in Spain everywhere at this time.

    A traditional treat in Spain is the bagel of kings. Bagels are baked in different sizes, sometimes very large. The bagel, which can also be a bagel-shaped cake, is cut into pieces and distributed among family members. The piece in which the chip will be is happy. Usually parents take care in advance that such a piece goes to the child.
    Also on the eve of the holiday, children must write a letter to the kings.

    According to tradition, on the day of Epiphany, the Spaniards consecrate water, incense and chalk, with which they write the first letters of the names of magician kings on the door of their house. According to legend, this drives away evil forces and evil thoughts from the house and keeps the family well-being. According to legend, the magician kings make a journey on foot across the country and head to Bethlehem. Three Kings Day marks the end of the Christmas holidays in Spain.
    The holiday is especially celebrated in Barcelona. On January 5, in the evening, a ship approaches the shore, three kings with courtiers and servants disembark from it, fireworks rumble, fireworks fly up. The kings are mounted on horses, the rest in carriages and wagons with gifts, and the whole procession moves through the streets of the city. Those who are in the carts scatter handfuls of sweets and distribute small souvenirs, an orchestra moves ahead, music sounds, riders on horseback prancing, someone dances, sings — in general, a real carnival. Moreover, each town has its own procession, and since the distance between them is very small, it is quite possible to have time to visit two or three processions at once. Children, and anyone who wants to, collect whole packages of sweets and several larger gifts.

    A special tradition associated with this day in Algeciras (Cádiz) is found nowhere else in Spain. The children of the city prepare rattling and rattling tins in advance, tie them into one deafening chain, and on the morning of January 5 they go out into the city streets with them, dragging these chains along the road. This tradition is connected with the legend that once upon a time a dark cloud arose over Mount Botafuegos, which prevented the Magic Kings from finding the houses in which the children lived. In order not to be left without gifts, the children began to knock and strum everything that came to hand — and then the Kings found them in the fog.

    In Italy, Epiphany, Epiphany (l’Epifania) – on January 6, the revival of the holiday as an official one is connected with the Decree of the President of the Republic of 28/12/1985 No. 792. A fabulous festival atmosphere reigns in Italian cities. The symbol of this holiday is the good witch Befana.

    The image of Befana is very ancient, it has existed since pre-Christian times, although the tradition itself is purely Christian: Befana brings gifts to children in memory of those gifts that the wise men brought to baby Jesus. According to legend, on this night, a good witch descends on her broom into the house through a pipe, and leaves presents for children in their stockings. Obedient and good — sweets, candles, sweets, and naughty — black coals. These embers are made from colored sugar. They are sweet, but they really look like embers. These «gifts» are sold in many stores. In Rome, on January 6, there is an Epiphany one-day fair, where sweets and souvenirs are sold, and a holiday camp is set up in the city center. And in Venice, a costumed boat procession is arranged along the city canals.
    In France, this is one of the most touching holidays, taking place on the first Sunday of January. On this day, gilded «royal biscuits» are baked — puff pastry pies in which a hard bean or a small figure is baked.

    There are many different recipes for this pie in different parts of Europe. There is even a special ritual for him — he is sold with a paper crown.
    So, recipe:
    For 6-8 pieces: 400 g puff pastry 2 tbsp apricot jam 100 g softened butter 100 g fine sugar 1 egg, lightly beaten 100 g ground almonds 2 tbsp cognac or dark rum.

    1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.

    2. Divide the dough in half, roll both parts into a circle with a diameter of 25 cm. Put one circle on a baking sheet, brush with apricot jam, leaving 2 cm to the edge.

    3. Beat soft butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg and beat together. Add ground almonds and alcohol.

    4. Spread the mixture on top of the jam, spread evenly. Lubricate the edges of the dough with water and cover with a second circle, squeeze the edges. Draw a zigzag or spiral on top and spread with a beaten egg.

    5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

    The pie is cut into several pieces. Usually as many as there are people at the table, plus one more. This extra piece is called «God’s» or «poor man’s piece». Previously, such pieces were given to the poor. The youngest of the children hides under the table and is asked: «Whose part is this?» The one who got the chunk with the filling is declared the king. He solemnly drinks a glass of wine, and all those present clap their hands and say in chorus: «The king drinks! The king drinks!» The «bean king» chooses his «queen». In the 15th century in France, the chosen «bean king» was dressed up in luxurious clothes and invited to dine in the company of the real king.
    In some regions of France, the ceremony of the «Wonderful Star» was performed on this day: a wagon with a fire burning on it was transported through the streets of cities to the accompaniment of tambourines. Beside the wagon were three people dressed as mage kings. Then the wagon is overturned, and each spectator takes home a burning brand, which was supposed to bring prosperity and peace to the house.
    The girls were wondering about the suitors that day. It was believed that magicians could appear to them in a dream, accompanied by a betrothed. And young people on the eve of the holiday kindled the «bonfires of kings», in which they danced at night.

    Jacob Jordaens 1638, Bean king .

    The celebration of the Epiphany in the Czech Republic and Germany consists of attending a solemn mass in a church and a family dinner after midnight by the fireplace. The meal should be as rich and plentiful as possible. Dishes, as a rule, are the same as those prepared for the New Year and Christmas holidays. This evening, boys dressed in white robes with crowns on their heads and a long pole topped with a star go from house to house with songs and bless their masters. This is called the «Procession of the Three Kings». The face of one of them can be smeared with soot — he depicts the sorcerer Melchior.

    According to custom, the owner writes over the door of the house the initial Latin letters of the names of the three Magi Kings: «C, M, B» (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar), indicates the year and draws a cross. It means, «God bless this house.» Such an inscription should protect the house and its inhabitants from misfortune. It is believed that the day after the Day of the Three Kings has increased, and the night has receded. On this day, the Christmas tree is lit for the last time, as it completes the cycle of Christmas holidays. Epiphany is celebrated not only in Germany, but also in some Swiss cities (Zurich, Bern, Lausanne, Glarus, Zug, etc.).

    In Austria, a family dinner is held at midnight after evening mass. In the old days, on this holiday it was customary to dress up as three kings and go from house to house. It was customary to treat such mummers well. This tradition continues to this day. With songs and poems about the three kings, the birth of Christ, as well as with wishes of health to the owners, specially dressed Austrians go home. Someone (mostly children), dressed in long white shirts and with crowns on their heads, depicts three kings. They should definitely be treated with sweets and give money. An ancient ritual action called Perchten is associated with the feast of the three kings in Austria. In modern Austria, it is organized more for the entertainment of tourists. According to legend, from December 31 to January 6, with his retinue, surrounded by children who died before baptism, Berkhta / Perkhta marches at night (hence the current female name Berta). However, in essence, Berkhta is both evil and kind. It is difficult to see her, but it is she who, depending on how the children behaved, brings gifts or punishes.
    Almost no holiday is complete without special dishes, so this evening there is always a “Christmas log” on the table. This ritual dish is also found in French Christmas cuisine.
    L It is curious that this very «log» used to be by no means a confectionery product. In past centuries in Austria, Germany and in many French provinces, especially in Provence, just before Christmas, an ordinary wooden log was placed in the hearth. True, it was called Yuletide and had a lot of useful ‘properties’. The charred brand was kept under the bed, only for a short time every day it was placed in the fire until the end of Epiphany. It was believed that a Christmas log protects the house from lightning and fires, and its inhabitants from witchcraft.
    The Christmas log dessert was first mentioned and described in 1879. But the ground for its creation has been prepared not only for centuries, but for millennia. The roots of the tradition go back to ancient pagan times, when the Celts solemnly celebrated the winter solstice. On this day, the shortest of the year, the Celts burned a large log of oak, elm or cherry (sometimes it was even a whole, but already dead tree), which, by its burning, personified the return of the sun and the addition of the day. The medieval Catholic Church did not destroy this pagan tradition, but the log-burning ceremony became more elaborate. The logs themselves began to be decorated with ribbons and plants, and they began to burn them in every family. The choice of a Christmas log was approached very responsibly: firstly, it had to be well dried in order to burn well, and secondly, it had to be of sufficient size to burn all night. The head of the family placed a log in a large fireplace or hearth, watered the tree with vegetable oil, warmed up with wine, rubbed it with salt and turned his requests to it. Women and girls kindled the fire with the help of coals saved from last year’s log. After the log burned out, the coals from it were again collected and hidden in a safe place. It was believed that they were able to protect the family throughout the next year from lightning and the machinations of the devil.
    This tradition, with some variations in different countries, existed in Europe from the 12th to the 19th centuries. It was especially common in France and Italy, where the Christmas log was called cerro. As small cast iron stoves spread, the tradition of burning the Christmas log began to die out. Large logs were replaced with small logs, which were decorated with candles and sweets and simply placed in the center of the festive table as decoration. And by the end of the 19th century, the festive log became completely edible, turning into one of the most delicious Christmas desserts.
    Today there are a huge number of recipes for making this dessert. And the ritual of decorating it can now be called sacred. A variety of figurines made of chocolate, meringue, marzipan and other sweets are placed on the Christmas log. Skillful housewives try to surprise their family with real masterpieces, creating a dessert as similar as possible to a real log — they draw the bark, make knots from which mushrooms, herbs grow and little mice look out. Entire scenes can be placed on a log — Santa Claus on reindeer, a house in a winter forest and much more . ..

    Classic Christmas log recipe.
    This is a traditional French birthday cake decorated with cream and reminiscent of a log with knots. The cake is quite intricately decorated: cream tree knots, meringue mushrooms, cream flowers and leaves, sugar fudge and more. In addition, small figurines made of wood, glass, porcelain are added as decorations…

    • For the biscuit:

    • Flour 30 g

    • Potato starch 50 g

    • Egg 3 pcs.

    • Powdered sugar 150 g

    • Butter (for greasing the pan) 1 tbsp. spoon

    • For the filling:

    • Chocolate 250 g

    • Egg yolk 4 pcs.

    • Granulated sugar 6 tbsp.

    • Butter 150 g

    • Rum or cognac 2 tsp

    • Very strong coffee 2 tsp

    • Roasted almonds 12 pcs.

    • Cream for decoration:

    • Butter 100 g

    • Egg yolk 2 pcs.

    • Granulated sugar 3 tbsp. spoons

    • Rum or cognac 2 teaspoons

    • Very strong coffee 2 tbsp. spoons

    • Instant coffee 1 teaspoon

    • Meringue mushrooms and other ‘forest’ decorations (to your taste)

    Preparation of the biscuit: Separate the whites from the yolks. Grind the yolks with 100 g of sugar until white. Add flour and starch gradually. Beat egg whites into a thick foam. Add the rest of the sugar. Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, mixing with a spoon from bottom to top. Heat the oven up to 100°C. Grease a baking sheet with oil, lightly dust with flour, pour in the dough, give it a rectangular shape and smooth it out. Bake 10-12 minutes. During this time, prepare the chocolate cream. Break the chocolate into pieces, put in a small saucepan, add coffee and melt in a water bath. In a bowl, grind white 4 yolks with 6 tbsp. spoons of granulated sugar. Combine and thoroughly mix warm chocolate, softened butter and egg mass. Add rum or cognac. When the biscuit is ready, soak in cold water and wring out two clean napkins. Put a biscuit on one and cover the second. Leave the cake to cool like this. Prepare coffee cream: grind white yolks with sugar (2 yolks and 3 tablespoons of sugar). Separately mix rum (or cognac) with 2 tbsp. spoons of very strong brewed coffee and 1 teaspoon of instant coffee. Soften 100 g of butter and combine everything, mixing well. Chop the almonds. Grease the biscuit with chocolate cream, sprinkle with nuts and roll into a roll (evenly and neatly). Trim the roll on both sides. Cut off pieces, allowing them to turn around, put on top of the log. After that, cover the entire cake with coffee cream. Use a fork to make grooves (like on a tree bark) and decorate with ‘forest’ decorations.

    And now again about the customs of the «Three Kings»…
    In Mexico these days, while walking, you must definitely watch your step. There has long been a custom here, according to which, on Epiphany, one must definitely put one’s shoes outside the threshold — in case the sages-sorcerers want to put their holiday gifts there)

    And this is how, for example, the motive of worship is reflected in the literature. ..

    K. Fofanov.
    Those stars haven’t gone out yet

    Those stars have not yet gone out,
    That dawn is still shining,
    That lit up the manger
    of the Newborn Christ.
    Then, led by a star,
    Avoiding the murmur of rumors,
    A reverent crowd
    Wise men flocked to Christ…
    They came from the far East,
    Carrying gifts with the delight of dreams,
    And from Herod’s eye
    The sovereign Christ was saved.
    Centuries have passed… And He is crucified;
    He is still plentiful
    Holiness, truth and goodness,
    And the strong Herod will not overcome
    His treacherous sword…

    Diego Velazquez — Adoration Magi


    Christmas Star

    And nearby, unknown before,
    Shyer than bowls
    At the gatehouse window
    A star twinkled on the way to Bethlehem.
    A growing glow glowed over her
    And it meant something,
    And three astrologers
    They hurried to the call of unprecedented fires.
    Gifts were carried on camels behind them.
    And donkeys in a harness, one undersized
    the other, were walking down the mountain.
    It was dawning. Dawn, like motes of ash,
    The last stars swept from the firmament,
    And only the Magi from the innumerable rabble
    Let Mary into the hole of the rock.
    He slept, all radiant, in a manger made of oak,
    Like a ray of moon in the hollow of a hollow.
    He was replaced with a sheepskin coat
    Donkey lips and ox nostrils.
    They stood in the shadows, as if in the twilight of a barn,
    They whispered, barely choosing words.
    Suddenly, someone in the darkness, a little to the left
    He pushed the sorcerer away from the manger,
    And he looked back: from the threshold at the Virgin,
    Like a guest, the star of Christmas looked.

    Albrecht Dürer. Adoration Magi . 1504. Uffizi.

    Khomyakov A.
    That night the Earth was in agitation

    This night the Earth was in agitation:
    Shine of a big, outlandish star
    Suddenly blinded mountains and villages,
    Cities, deserts and gardens.

    And the lionesses watched in the desert,
    Like, full of wondrous gifts,
    Chariots moved silently,
    Camels and elephants walked importantly.

    And in the brow of a large caravan,
    Staring into the sky,
    Three wise men in intricate turbans
    Went to bow to someone.

    And in the cave, where they did not go out all night
    Torches, flashing and fumes,
    There they saw lambs in a manger
    Sleeping beautiful Child.

    That night the whole creation was in an uproar,
    Birds sang in the midnight darkness,
    Proclaiming goodwill to all,
    The coming of peace on earth.

    Pearing Domenico Girlandayo « worship Volkhvov »

    Joseph Brodsky
    Christmas 1963

    The Savior was born
    in a sorry.
    Shepherd’s fires burned in the desert.
    Buran raged and exhausted the soul
    from the poor kings who delivered gifts.
    Camels raised their shaggy legs.
    The wind howled.
    The star, blazing in the night,
    watched as the three caravans of the road
    converged into the cave of Christ like rays.

    Hieronymus Bosch. Adoration of the Magi (detail), 1510.

    Joseph Brodsky.
    Christmas star

    In a cold season, in a place more accustomed to heat,
    than to cold, to a flat surface more than to a mountain,
    A baby was born in a cave to save the world;
    melo as soon as the desert can winter revenge.
    Everything seemed huge to him: Mother’s breasts, yellow steam
    from ox nostrils, sorcerers — Balthasar, Caspar,
    Melchior; their gifts dragged in here.

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