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Gifts of the Three Magi: A Botany of Christmas from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea with Margaux Hofstedt

Gifts of the Three Magi: A Botany of Christmas from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea with Margaux Hofstedt


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

While the gifts brought by the wise men from the East are celebrated as part of the Christmas story delivered through the Gospel of Matthew, it is truly fascinating to rediscover the history, nature, and symbolism of the two exceptional aromatic resins that the wise men brought. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were the richest of gifts that could be offered to a newborn king, but their significance lies not so much in their religious symbolism, nor in the fabulous wealth they represented. The real significance of the three gifts is their use by Ancient civilizations, their fascinating journey through the remote and mysterious India, the Arabian peninsula, the scented routes from Yemen in the East to the port of Gaza, and from Egypt in the South to Syria, Asia Minor, and East to Persia. 

The value of gold is timeless, but the precious quality of the wise men’s other two gifts is not immediately obvious to people of the twenty-first century. To understand the immense value of frankincense and myrrh, one needs to grasp the universal practice of religion in the ancient world. Together, we will explore the mysterious civilizations of Eastern Arabia and the Arabian peninsula in Ancient times, their trade routes crisscrossing the Arabian desert, and the goods they brought from the Red Sea ports to the Mediterranean and out to the rest of the Roman Empire.

Led by an expert on the world of fragrances, Margaux Hofstedt, this lecture will take you through a Christmas tradition that can be traced back to the story of Jesus's birth in Bethlehem. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of the origin of frankincense and myrrh, and the true significance of those gifts at the time of the Nabatean Kingdom.

The daughter of a French perfumer from the city of Grasse, the world's capital of fragrances, Professor Margaux Hofstedt forever associates scents with childhood memories: of her dad's scented fingers; of the fields of roses, jasmine, and tuberose surrounding her family home; of mysterious smells, like sandalwood, and patchouli, brought back from exotic countries. After graduating from the prestigious Higher Institute of Fragrances and Flavors ISIPCA in Versailles, an institution founded by renowned perfumer Jean-Jacques Guerlain, she dedicated her professional life to teaching and lecturing, sharing her passion with various audiences worldwide. She also created perfume-making workshops not only at The House of Fragonard but also at the European University of Flavors and Fragrances in Provence, opening the doors of a sensory journey for anyone interested in understanding the creation process. In addition, she is professor of Food Studies at the Institute for American Universities and the American College of the Mediterranean in Aix-en-Provence, France. Prof Hofstedt is bilingual in French and in English.

Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
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Marie Reed (Albuquerque, US)
Trees in the Arabian Desert : A Source of Mysterious Essences

A fascinating review of (frank)incense and myrrh, where they come from and why they have been considered so valuable. Besides medicinal properties these resins are used to make perfumes. Margaux told us about basic perfume notes and the role of marketing in creating new perfumes. I had no idea that perfumes would be discussed in this lecture, but I"m glad to learn something new! Delicieux!

M
Marita Boyce (Innisfil, CA)
Interrupted and hoping to view the recording

Could not view

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
0%
(0)
50%
(1)
50%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
M
Marie Reed (Albuquerque, US)
Trees in the Arabian Desert : A Source of Mysterious Essences

A fascinating review of (frank)incense and myrrh, where they come from and why they have been considered so valuable. Besides medicinal properties these resins are used to make perfumes. Margaux told us about basic perfume notes and the role of marketing in creating new perfumes. I had no idea that perfumes would be discussed in this lecture, but I"m glad to learn something new! Delicieux!

M
Marita Boyce (Innisfil, CA)
Interrupted and hoping to view the recording

Could not view