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Sternsinger start collecting from today

From today the 27 of December until 6  January the Sternsinger will be travelling around the country.

The Star singing procession has children and young people walking about with a movable star on a rod. The singing procession and the folk drama had its roots in an old medieval ecclesiastical play, centred on the Three Magi of the Christmas story in the Gospel of Matthew.

In Austria star singing has developed into a nationwide custom, where the children call on every door and are given sweets and money for Caritas charity projects - unusually in aid of poor children in Eastern European and developing countries.

A tradition in most of Central Europe involves writing the initials of the three kings' names above the main door of the home to confer blessings on the occupants for the New Year.

Every year around 85,000 young people from Burgenland through to Vorarlberg go knocking on doors collecting money for people around the world from Africa and Asia through to Latin America .

It is estimated this year that the collectors will walk an estimated 420,000 kilometres – equivalent to travelling round the world 10 times. In total they help around 1,000,000 people with the money they collect in 20 different countries.

One of the countries is Ethiopian – the poorest country in Africa – where poverty is in control and in particular impacting children and women.

Here the organisation sponsors initiatives such as one helping street children to gain an education and a chance in life.

The Sternsinger are organised by the Catholic youth group and have been in operation for more than 50 years . Last year they raised 15.3 million Euros.

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