Make 'Chalking of the Doors' a Family Tradition

An Epiphany tradition that may be better known in Europe than it is in the United States is easy to do, and easy to make part of your family’s continuing celebration of the entire Christmas season.

The “chalking of the doors” is a way to dedicate our year to God and to ask his blessing on everyone who lives, works and visits in our homes.

Simply get some chalk (some parishes may bless chalk on Epiphany) and then after Mass, mark this above or near your front door:

20 + C + M + B + 21

To the uninitiated, it may seem like some sort of code, but here’s what it means:

The numbers 20 and 21 represent the year. The letters have two meanings. They are the initials of the Magi – Caspar, Malchior, and Balthazar, – and they also abbreviate the Latin Christus mansionem benedicat, which means, “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross.

The marking is traditionally done on the Feast of the Epiphany, or the Twelfth Day of Christmas, and is accompanied by a short prayer offered by a member of the family. Happy chalking!


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