Our first entry in the 12 Days of Christmas Stamps for 2014 is a joint issue between Argentina and the Vatican City. The stamps were issued on 21 November and consist of a 0,85 stamp in sheets of ten for the Vatican and a $10 value for Argentina. The nativity scene depicted on the two stamps is taken from paintings by Argentinian artist Raúl Soldi in the Church of Saint Anne in Glew, Buenos Aires.
Soldi had gone inside the church in 1953 after noticing that the door was open. He discovered that the walls were completely white without any paintings or artwork. Having worked out an agreement with the parish priest, he spent the next twenty-three summers painting the 250 meters of frescoes.
On 27 November, Croatia issued a single 3,10 stamp depicting a traditional Advent wreath. In 1838 Johan Heinrich Wichern came up with the idea to illuminate one prayer per day under the light of one candle in December leading up to Christmas. He used twenty small candles for normal days and four large candles for Sundays. His first wreath was a wooden horse carriage wheel. Several years later, his boarding students began to substitute the wooden wreath with an evergreen one. Having left their home and earning their own bread, they spread the custom which soon probed popular.
An Advent wreath was set in Cologne’s Catholic church in 1925 and within ten years it had become customary to bless it in churches. Some of the original features have been forgotten through the passage of time. For example, should there be three violet candles followed by one pink (penance and joy) with the fifth being white for Christmas or red in the middle to represent the blood of Christ’s sacrifice?
Regardless of your religious affiliation or the manner in which you celebrate (if at all) the Christmas season, I hope you are enjoying a look at the beautiful art created on these bits of paper we call postage stamps. If you would like to spread a little holiday cheer and send me a postcard or letter with a nice Christmas stamp affixed, I’d be very appreciative. My mailing address can be found below.
8/1 Suthas Soi 2
T. Talat Yai
A. Muang Phuket