Christmas stamp issues are very important among philatelists from around the world. This theme has become traditional and the philatelic program of each postal service cannot avoid including these stamps in their philatelic plans. Monaco Post is not an exception. This year its Christmas stamp depicts the Virgin and Child.
StampNews.com encourages our readers to appreciate this philatelic item.
Christmas is the time to rejoice in the glories of Christ's birth and celebrate all the blessings of the Holy Spirit with friends, family, acquaintances and loved ones.
In Monaco, until the end of the last century, Christmas Eve was the occasion when all the members of a family would gather at their parents' home to perform, as a preliminary to the evening meal, the rite of the olive branch.
Before sitting down, the youngest of the guests, or the oldest, soaked an olive branch in a glass of old wine. He approached the fireplace where a great fire of pine and laurel branches burned and with his little branch traced the sign of the Cross while pronouncing a few words on the virtues of the olive tree, a source of all kinds of good things.
After this, everybody in turn wet his lips in the glass of wine serving as an aperitif before the gala dinner whose main dish was an enormous "brandamincium", a Monégasque dish of salt cod pounded up with garlic, oil and cream, surrounded by "cardu", cardoon in white sauce ; "barba-Giuan", literally "Uncle John", stuffed fritters and "fougasses" flat crunchy biscuits sprinkled with sugared aniseed colored red and white, flavored with several drops of rum and orange-flower water.
On the table covered with a splendid cloth lay a round loaf of bread "u pan de Natale" (the Christmas loaf) on which four walnuts formed a Cross surrounded by several olive twigs.
From this Christmas of olden times, there are still in existence, besides Midnight Mass in the Cathedral, "Barba-Giuan", "fougasses" and "u pan de Natale" to be found at some bakeries in the Principality.