BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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216                            THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
were given to the poor ; and if the bean should happen to be in any of these portions, the king was then chosen by pulling straws."
The three kings mentioned in the above extract, are those worthies commonly known by the title of the Three Kings of Colen (Cologne),—identified, by old legends, with the wise men of the east, who did homage to our Saviour, on the day of which the Epiphany is the anniversary celebration. They are stated to have been Arabians ; and are distinguished in the tra­ditionary tales of the early church, by the names of Melchior, Balthazar, and Gasper. Their bodies are said to have been finally deposited at Cologne, after several removals;—and the practice of electing a king, on the evening of the Epiphany, has been, by some, thought to have a reference to their supposed regal characters. We imagine, however, it will be sufficiently evident to our readers, after what we have formerly said, that it is not necessary for us to seek further than we have already done, for the origin of the Twelfth-night king.
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