StampNews.com is glad to introduce to our readers' attention a set of innovative Christmas stamp issue released by Spanish Post. This set is unique as it is a real innovation for Spanish philately. Why? Let's consider this issue in this piece of news.
The 2015 Christmas issue, classic and religious, A Rate, is dedicated to the Baby Jesus, including an inner cut-out framing the figure. It is the smallest stamp ever issued by Spain, with a surface area of 229.1837mm².
Until now the smallest Spanish stamp featured Isabel II and was issued in 1851; it cost two reales and measured 388.8mm². The smallest stamp worldwide was issued by the state of Bolivar (1863-1866) in what was then called the United States of Colombia; it measured 8 × 9.5 mm.
The 2015 edition is special because, as with the stamps that will be issued in 2016 and 2017, it can be affixed to a 2015-2017 Collectible Christmas Card framed by the impressive Neapolitan nativity scene from the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada (La Rioja); the nativity scene, with its incalculable artistic and religious value, was donated by Don Miguel Ángel Lorente.
Correos wants to join the tradition of setting up the nativity scene with stamp collecting, so the figures will appear one by one and will each have an internal cut-out framing it so that anyone can create their own nativity scene:
- Baby Jesus: 2015
- Virgin Mary: 2016
- Joseph: 2017
The Neapolitan nativity scene from which the stamp's images are taken includes more than 130 pieces created between the 18th century and the late 20th century; most of the pieces are 38 cm tall. Like all Neapolitan nativity scenes, it consists of two main elements: the figures and the scenery, here a work of Nicola Maciariello. The birth is depicted in a partially crumbling temple, symbolising Christianity's victory over paganism as is typical of Neapolitan nativity scenes.
Christmas decorations take prominence in the B Rate stamps, which are the modern, secular issue. The custom of decorating houses during the Christmas season dates back to the ancient Celtic, German and Scandinavian traditions and is based on respectfully following the natural cycles that celebrate the winter solstice and the birth of the sun child. This tradition can also be found in other ancient peoples and in Grecian-Roman mythology. This time of year began to take on religious symbolism in the middle Ages.
Nowadays Christmas ornaments have lost their mystical significance and have become mere decorations. However, even without the religious connotation, it is a time of year associated with brotherhood, love and family.
This stamp is a window into Christmas, the home, and the family, and the good wishes embodied once again this year in the Christmas issue; Correos has been putting out the series since 1955 to celebrate this wonderful time of year.