Tuesday, January 10, 2012

#19 - Feast of the Three Drunks

There is a Polish custom on Epiphany in which people chalk the letters "K+M+B" and the year on their front door as a sign of religious faith for the coming year. The letters stand for the traditional names of the three Magi who visited Christ in the manger: Kaspar, Melchior and Balthazar. Raczkowski contrasts the pious person with his neighbour, who has chalked instead the formula for ethanol (drinking alcohol) on his door. Portraying piety and alcoholism as two dominant tendencies in Polish society is a familiar Raczkowskian trope, and the next post will feature one of his funniest renditions.


  1. Dude, first of all, this is a catholic custom, not Polish. Secondly, it means "Christus mansionem benedicat".

    Joke is funny

  2. Although I grew up Catholic in the American Midwest I never heard of this custom until I lived in Poland. Wikipedia says that it is a Central European custom. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Magi#Central_Europe_and_Germanic) So while it's not exclusively Polish, it's definitely not common to all Catholics.

    The letters may stand for "Christus mansionem benedicat" in Germany but in Poland they do not and cannot, because as the cartoon shows the Poles use the letter K, and "Christus" is never written with a K. So I stand by my statement.