Spain has been issuing Christmas stamps ever since 1955 and the latest set of two – one in a classic style, the other more modern – were released on 11 November.
The Class A stamp bears the image of a stained-glass window depicting a typical scene of the birth of Baby Jesus, with the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. It is accompanied by the message “Merry Christmas” written in the four official languages spoken in Spain. Cold foil was added to the stamp to accentuate the colours and give greater depth to the stained-glass image.
The Class B stamp is presented in mini-sheet format, made up of six equal stamps joined together to form a Christmas tree. The mini-sheet as a whole frames a Christmas card full of good wishes to “Light up Your Christmas”. This issue brings the novelty of thermal ink, a substance that gives the impression that the stars shine when you slide your fingers over them.
The Christian community celebrates Christmas Day or the Birth of Christ on 25th December. Some countries, such as Spain, Italy, the Philippines and Latin America have the tradition of setting up a Nativity crèche with the classic figures representing the Birth of Christ, along with angels, shepherds, the Three Wise Men and characters typical in each area. The tradition in other countries and areas, such as Germany, France and Northern Europe, dictates decorating a Christmas tree, normally of the pine family because they are evergreens and symbolise the concept of eternity.
Poland released a beautiful pair of Christmas stamps on 14 November 2014, featuring religious images from stained glass windows:
Christmas in Poland is a major annual celebration, as in most countries of the Christian world. The observance of Christmas developed gradually over the centuries, beginning in ancient times; combining old pagan customs with the religious ones introduced after the Christianization of Poland by the Catholic Church.
Later influences include mutual permeating of local traditions and various folk cultures. Christmas trees are decorated and lit in family rooms on the day of Christmas Eve. Other trees are placed in most public areas and outside churches. Christmas is called “Boże Narodzenie” in Polish (literally ‘God’s Birth’).
Austria released a stunning stamp on 14 November 2014 showcasing the sculpture known as the Krumau Madonna (1390) in Vienna‘s Kunsthistorisches Museum. This was followed on 28 November with a stamp picturing the Adoration of the Magic from the Graz Diocesan Museum.
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