‘Christmas 2011: Folk Style’ stamp from Slovakia

The Slovakian Post has issued a new stamp celebrating Christmas 2011.

The custom of giving gifts at Christmas is documented in a Protestant environment from the 16th century. Other Christmas traditions and symbols include a Christmas play, making of Christmas cribs, and an Advent wreath and decorated Christmas tree. Lit candles on the Christmas tree symbolize the light that came into the world to put the darkness out. The arrival of the Savior is traditionally celebrated as a rich feast, which ends the period of fasting. According to the advice given by the housewives from the 19th century "one should eat meat that is legless, for Christ's birth it should be meat of the two-legged animals and on St. Stephen's Day meat of the four-legged animals. It should be fish, bird, domestic or wild animal. One meat should be fried, the second should be baked and the third should be cooked or stewed." The Christmas period is also characterized by baking small sweet-smelling cookies, cake called vianocka (Christmas cake), makovnik (poppy seed cake), nut cakes and medovnik (honey cake).

This year's Christmas issue is dedicated to traditional Slovak honey cake bakery, on the postage stamp a fish is depicted.

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