Myrrh Discover the Christmas custom, story, myth and legend associated with Myrrh. This festive tradition and Christmas custom, with its familiar symbol and meaning, has evolved over time. But what is the history, meaning and origin of Myrrh? This article provides facts and information about the history of Myrrh as a familiar symbol which has specific religious significance to the Christian religion and the Nativity of Jesus Christ. Myrrh is an aromatic gum resin which was primarily obtained from the bark of a small desert tree known as Commifera Myrrha or the Dindin tree. Myrrh was used by the Israelites as perfumed ointments in their funeral anointing preparations which postponed the decay and alleviated the odors of the deceased.
The Gifts given by the Magi The Magi, or Three Wise Men, presented the infant Jesus with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, three gifts which were fit for a king.
Myrrh (an embalming oil) was used as an anointing oil and as a symbol of suffering
Frankincense was used as a perfume, symbolizing prayer and the priesthood
Gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, symbolizing virtue
The names of the 'Magi' are not mentioned in the Bible. They are referred to by a variety of different names but in the traditional Western Christian church they are commonly known as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. These names were detailed in an early 6th century Greek manuscript in Alexandria. Tradition says that the Myrrh was presented to the infant Jesus by Melchior.
What is Myrrh? The word is familiar to all Christians but what exactly is Myrrh? Myrrh is a gum-resin primarily obtained from the Commifera Myrrha or the Dindin tree but also other species of trees found in the areas of Yemen, Somalia, the eastern parts of Ethiopia Jordan. Myrrh is a reddish-brown resinous material, the dried sap of various trees trees.
How is Myrrh obtained from a Tree? To obtain the Myrrh a deep incision is made in the trunk of the tree and the sap, or resin, is drained. When the milk-like juice has dried and hardened by exposure to the atmosphere. The myrrh hardens into tear-dropped shaped chunks and is then made into ointments or perfumes or ground into a powder.
What was Myrrh used for? Myrrh was highly valued for its use in embalming, or anointing of the dead. It also used as an expensive perfume. As a medicine it was in former times in high repute. The Romans was believed to be an antidote to hemlock and recommended for tumours, cancer, and leprosy. In the East Myrrh was also found to be effective as an external application in infections, boils and sores as it was believed to hold anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Myrrh is therefore credited as a stimulant or tonic and its astringent properties.
Myrrh Christmas is celebrated worldwide, throughout the Christian population of approximately 2275 million people, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. Customs and traditions are symbolized by familiar symbols and icons, such as the Myrrh, have come to represent the spirit and meaning of this special time of the year.
The history, meaning and origin of this familiar symbol
Old Customs, Symbols and Traditions
Meaning and origin of this traditional Christmas custom
History, Facts and information about customs, symbols and traditions
Meaning, history and origin of traditional symbols
A Religious Christian meaning, Pagan origins or a Modern custom?
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