Word of the Week: Sternsinger
Enlarge image (© dpa) Every year between Christmas and Epiphany, hundreds of thousands of German kids travel from house to house singing carols and collecting money for good causes. These kids are known as Sternsinger ("star singers"), and their efforts are part of a Catholic initiative that has been ongoing since 1959.
Between December 25 and January 6, these kids dress up in colorful robes, wear gold crowns and carry a star. They represent the three Wise Men (Magi). When they arrive at a Catholic house, they sing carols and bless the house by writing an inscription over the door with a stick of chalk. At the same time, these kids ask for donations for various charities and causes.
If you've ever been to a Catholic region of Germany during the holidays, it's possible you've seen an inscription such as 20+C+M+B+16 over the doors of houses. This is the work of the star singers.
The Sternsinger are so popular in Germany that even the German chancellor and the Bundestag receive a visit from them in January. And the work of the Sternsinger is the biggest global fundraiser by children for children, Deutsche Welle reports. In 2014, the Sternsinger collected $53 million in Germany alone - money that was dispersed throughout the world for various aid projects. Star singers exist throughout the world, but they are especially prominent in German-speaking countries!
By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany