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Who Were the Three Kings and What Were Their Gifts?

Posted on 27th November 2013
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Clown Logo of Karnival Costumes your Halloween specialists for Fancy Dress and Costume AccessoriesAre you looking for a Nativity costume for a school play? Is your child going to be one of the three wise men who followed the yonder star all the way to the manger? Well as well has having a great selection of nativity fancy dress for children and adults, at Karnival Costumes we like to do our bit by offering you some information on who the travelers were and what the gifts were they brought with them. 
Cute Christmas Star costume for children at Karnival Costumes www.karnival-house.co.uk
So as we move towards the end of the year and the demand for Nativity costumes starts to increase, we thought we’d take a look at the gifts that the Magi brought with them. The Magi are also referred to as the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings in Christian tradition a group of eminent foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and are an important part of Christian tradition. Although most people know of gold, its value as a precious metal and where it comes from, the other gifts, although known by name are less well understood.

Who were the Three Kings or Wise Men?

It’s commonly believed that the Magi more often referred to as the Three Kings or the Three Wise Men in Christian religion were distinguished foreign scholars who visited Jesus after his birth and they brought with them the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Their travels, along with those of the shepherds and angels, is a core element of the Nativity as presented by Western Religion and Christian tradition.
Although there are many possible spellings for each of the names, they are most commonly referred to as;
  • Melchior, a scholar from Persia
  • Gaspar, an Indian scholar and
  • Balthazar, an Arabian scholar
What were the Gifts the Wise Men Brought?
One of the Three Kings from the Nativity, this is our Gaspar costume for children from Karnival Costumes www.karnival-house.co.uk your dress up specialists
There is a continuing debate as to how to interpret the gifts that the Magi brought with them on their travels, all three gifts could be considered as being ordinary offerings and gifts given to a king. All had, and still do, have great value with Gold being the most obvious. Myrrh was commonly used as an anointing oil and frankincense as a perfume.
Each of the gifts could also be endowed with a more spiritual meaning with the gifts being more suited as offerings to a god rather than a King. Gold can be seen as being a symbol of earthly kingship, Frankincense as a symbol of deity and myrrh as a symbol of death.
What are Frankincense and Myrrh?
Frankincense and Myrrh are both highly aromatic resins taken from trees and that were highly valued in ancient times. Being scarce and exotic in origin they were both revered and valuable along with gold, so it’s fitting that these were used as gifts by the Magi and presented at the birth of Christ.

What is Frankincense?

Frankincense is obtained from Boswellia trees, a genus of trees in the order Sapindales. The sap of the tree is used to make incense. Produced in Oman, Yemen, and Somalia, the resin is now harvested two or three times a year. Oman is believed to have been the center of the frankincense trade in ancient times.

What is Myrrh?

Myrrh comes from the Commiphora myrrha tree, also native to Somalia. It was 5 times as expensive as frankincense, and had a variety of uses in the ancient world. It played a large part in funerals, both as an element to embalming ointments and as an aroma to cover the smell of corpses burning in Roman funerals.
So now you know a little about the gifts that the Three Wise Men brought with them on their travels to the stable outside Bethlehem and whether your child is going to wear a tea-towel on his head (like we did when we were young) or one of our Nativity costume crowns, at least you’ll be able to put a name to a King and explain a little about the background to the gifts they brought.
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