Intangible Cultural Heritage in Austria

Metnitzer Kinisingen – Epiphany caroling in Metnitz

Applicant: Direktor SR Siegmund Kogler
Province: Carinthia
Domain: Performing arts
Year of inclusion: 2014

The Metnitzer Kinisingen in the Metnitztal, a valley in Carinthia, would seem to date back to the 16th century; the first written mention of its lyrics, still sung today, is in a manuscript from 1724. Together with the three kings and the star-bearer, a group of singers (referred to as the “Rotte”) wanders through the entire Metnitztal, going from farmhouse to farmhouse, between New Year’s and 6 January (Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day), singing the 17 verses of the “Kinilied” (Song of the Three Kings). To go along with the singing, the kings and the star-bearer perform a special pantomime routine in which they move silently and according to precisely defined rules. In addition to the 17 verses, well-wishes for a good year are recited to the residents of each house. In lieu of money, the members of the Rotte are given food and drink following their performance, after which they sing one final song and move on.