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Nebiy, Midya and Ali are from Iran, Syria and Eritrea. They came to Germany as refugees and have not been living in Cologne for long. Yet, they are wealthy. Following the star, they roamed the streets as the real Kings on 4, 5 and 6 January 2017, knocking at doors of houses and apartments of the local population, in order to sing and to bestow upon them the gifts they have brought along: love in the form of a hug, homemade bread, and words of sympathy from a handwritten letter. With the gifts in return received from the locals, they organize a kinglike feast to which all involved Cologners are invited, in order to further build on the contact.
This intervention is inspired by epiphany carol singing. The old tradition of caroling dates back to the 16th century and had spread widely at the time already. On the first days of the year until 6 January, children disguised as the three kings knock on neighbours’ doors and present a carol song. They bless the house for the New Year and ask for a gift in return to their good cause. The three kings were wise men and kings from the Orient, as documented in the Gospel of Matthew: “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
A boy explained whilst hugging King Nebiy that he supports the immigration policy of Merkel.
An old men with white hair followed the kings to give them a package of sweets.
An small stouted lady in a rosa shirt sang along with the kings.
A child was taken out of the bathtube by its mother as the kings arrived. A young man with beard wanted to present his old couch to the kings.
A man with wide trousers and a honey bread in his hands invited the kings into his flat.
An old lady with braided white hair, laughed and clapped her hands out of sheer joy.
The pregnant woman next to her man with geled hair and hornrims started to cry listening to the kings.
Nebiy, Ali, Midya as kings and katharinajej as the star
WDR 5 Scala by Peter Backof 6.1.17
Kölnische Rundschau by Henriette Westphal 6.1.17