Get in the mood for the Christmas season with us. With a wonderful Christmas story sponsored by the founder of the “Original Salzburger Advent”, Mr. Erich W. Holzmann.

K + M + B 1956

E.W. Holzmann 2000 / Revision 2007

According to ancient tradition, the dark forces have a very special power during the Rauhnächte. Incense has been burned in Pinzgau for centuries to effectively combat these spirits.

The first letters of the Three Kings “Kaspar, Melchior and Balthasar” are written on the frame of the front door with consecrated chalk as a protective sign against evil.

The original Latin meaning C + M + B – christus mansionem benedicat – loosely translated as “God bless this house”, had become K + M + B among the common people. This has survived to this day and hardly anyone knows the original meaning.

I had known this custom from the farm in Lower Austria where I had lived until the age of six, but now as a seven-year-old Taferlklassler in Zell am See, I was able to decipher the three letters for the first time.

I had read the K – M – B above the front door of our neighbors, the Totschnig family, in 1956 and unsuspectingly asked the then 14-year-old Walter what it meant.

His answer sounded absolutely convincing: Only families with three children can write these signs on the door, as K stands for smallest, M for middle and B for most important. It goes without saying that there were three Totschnig boys and that Walter was the eldest and therefore the most important.

Even today, I am still amazed at his incredible quick wit, because the first letters of his three first names, Werner, Helmut and Walter, would have been hard to explain.

I didn’t quite want to believe what I had heard, as the same thing was written above the entrance to the vicarage and there certainly weren’t three children living there. But Walter also had a quick explanation for this.

There would be an exception for vicarages, the K would stand for the cooperator, the M for the cook Mitzi and the B clearly for the “B” farrer. That sounded plausible and I knew what I had to do.

The next day, a small piece of chalk was cut at school and by the afternoon the magic signs, K + M + B 1956, were emblazoned across our kitchen door.

In the evening, when Walter, taken aback by my boldness, asked me what that was all about, I gave a definite and, above all, completely logical answer.

In the absence of siblings – my brother didn’t come along until 1957, but even he wouldn’t have made the difference according to the “Totschnig theory!” – K stood for Kleinster, M for Mutti and the B for …. “B “apa.