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    Posted January 6, 2013 by
    Kaunas, Lithuania

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    Three Kings Balthazar, Gaspar, Melchior.


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     alius911 photographed the Catholic celebration of the Three Kings in Kaunas, Lithuania, on January 6. He says the Three Kings was a procession that took place with more than 100 people accompanying them. He says it is a popular event in Lithuania, and it happens at the end of the Christmas festive period.

    This iReport was featured on the January 2013 iReport for CNN program on CNN International.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    According to tradition dating back to medieval times, their names were Balthasar, Gaspar (or Casper), and Melchior. They are often depicted as representing the three races. The Bible says they came from the East, but exactly where is not known. Arabia, Babylon, and Persia are popular choices. According to one tradition, Balthasar was king of Arabia, Gaspar was king of India, and Melchior was king of Persia.

    An 8th century saint, Bede the Venerable, described the kings this way: "The first was called Melchior; he was an old man, with white hair and long beard; he offered gold to the Lord as to his king. The second, Gaspar by name, young, beardless, of ruddy hue, offered to Jesus his gift of incense, the homage due to Divinity. The third, of black complexion, with heavy beard, was called Baltasar; the myrrh he held in his hands prefigured the death of the Son of man."

    The Bible, however, does not describe the kings or reveal their names. In fact, it does not call them kings at all, but simply Magi, or Wise Men. The Magi were a Median priestly caste who rose to power in ancient Persia (today's Iran). Their religion, Zoroastrianism, was founded around the 6th century BC by a Median man named Zoroaster. The Magi were held in awe as highly educated scientists and scholars who could interpret dreams and even control demons.
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