Creating an unconventional and unusual Christmas stamp which exudes modernity and will also appeal to a young public, which was the challenge from Austrian Post which was realized in this stamp. It was designed by Anita Kern. The artist has created a sparkling, snow-covered Christmas tree for the stamp using graphic means. For her fir tree she chose "maximum possible graphic reduction, which would make the essentials visible, but significantly reduced", as she describes it.
StampNews.com is glad to introduce this original stamp to our readers' attention.
The light and dark green triangles represent the branches, depending on how the light falls on them, the yellow ones represent the candles and the white, snow. The two violet triangles beyond the tree symbolise the darkness of the night. In this way, the artist has created a sparkling, snow-covered Christmas tree for the stamp using graphic means, and thus referenced a long-standing tradition. Putting up trees to celebrate the Celtic festival of Yule was common even before the age of Christianity.
Since the evergreen trees were ascribed the power of surviving the "dark" season, they came to symbolise hope. It was claimed that the green branches, which were also hung around the houses, made it harder for evil spirits to enter. There are different accounts of when the first Christmas tree was used. Was it the bakery in Freiburg which put up the first tree in 1419, or artisans from the city of Bremen who had the idea of celebrating Christmas under a fir tree? Or should we bow to the first documented proof that a Christmas tree was erected in Strasbourg Cathedral in 1539?
What is certain is that the tradition has gradually spread from Germany around the world. At first trees were decorated with paper roses, apples, nuts, dried fruits and small gifts; the first time that a Christmas tree was decorated with candles is reported to have been in Silesia in 1611. Goethe's "The Sorrows of young Werther" includes an account of a decorated tree, as does E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King".
The custom of a Christmas tree decorated with candles was brought to Austria from the Germanic states at the start of the 19th century, reputedly by Henriette von Weilburg-Nassau, the wife of Archduke Charles. The tree, which later came to be known as a Christmas tree, continues to be one of the most important symbols of the feast of Christmas, even if, nowadays, it is generally electric lights that illuminate the tree with its decorations of shiny golden or colourful baubles and sweets or traditional straw stars. Seeing the brightly-lit Christmas tree always brings a sparkle of excitement to children's eyes.