Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Merry Yule


I changed what I was going to post for Sunday Stamps this week when I received a wonderful Christmas parcel of stamps and cards from my postcrossing friend Eeva which included these two contrasting Åland Islands stamps.  I'll start with the 2010 Inge Löök one on the right. "Christmas with the Merry Aunties".  Our merry old ladies have sawn down a Christmas tree to carry home and are dressed in Lucia gowns. Now when I looked up what Lucia gowns were it brought a whole lot of more humour to the stamp. They are usually worn by young girls (that is not going to stop the aunties) with a row of electric lights in there hair, a procession takes place on the saints day of 13th December.   Lucia is the bearer of light in the dark mid winter.  The Nordic Lucia tradition started in the 18th Century in Sweden and then spread to the Åland Islands and other Swedish speaking regions in Finland in the 1900s, now I believe most of the Nordic countries celebrate.  For the full legend, celebration and pictures see here  But lets talk of food "The Lucia celebrations also include ginger snaps and sweet, saffron-flavoured buns (lussekatter) shaped like curled-up cats and with raisin eyes. You eat them with glögg or coffee".  Mmm.

This year's Åland stamp on the left is called "A Flower for Christmas" a picture of a hyacinth by the photographer Helene Schmitz who is famous from her close-up pictures of flowers.

Next, as the package came from Finland here are the profusion of Christmas stamps Eeva used:
This years theme - Elves, designed by the postcard artist Kaarina Toivanen, the "cuddly Christmas smiling boy elf" surrounded by balls of wool and soft toys and the "Swinging girl elf", swinging on a straw mobile. Kaarina Toivanen says "Elves are happy, contemplative, mysterious and hard-working. They love hay barns and forest creatures they appreciate tradition and are loyal. Elves are also peace-loving and they perform tasks properly"

Under the boy elf is the 2010 Christmas stamp showing the kind of darkness at this time of the year in Lapland which they call kaamos (Finnish for the polar night).  Designed by Tommi Vallisto the three reindeer draw Santa in his sleigh under the red glow of a full moon.  Maybe the stamp next to it, the 2001 Santa Claus, is a close up.

Lastly

this year's winter greeting stamp showing a frosty rosehip. This is a stamp which the post office says is "perfect for winter greetings after Christmas".   Isn't that a marvellous idea.


An entry to Viridian Postcards Sunday Stamps Christmas theme.



7 comments:

Bob Scotney said...

I hadn't heard of the Åland islands before. Finland always seems to do Christmas stamps so well.

Postcardy said...

They are all very nice. I think the small Santa in the dark sky is most interesting. If I were picking one to use, I would probably pick the Santa closeup because it looks the most Christmassy to me.

www.dakotaboo.com said...

I'm with Bob ... the Åland islands are new to me as well. Lovely stamps. Thanks for sharing, and Happy Christmas.

viridian said...

Thank you for sharing some lovely stamps. At first the Inge Look ladies did not appeal to me but now I find them funny.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I just love the Åland Islands stamps! I've said it before and I'll say it again, Finland has some wonderful stamp designers. I wish they'd give some lessons ....

Marcie said...

Love the Åland stamps. I've been to Åland, a beautiful place on earth!

VioletSky said...

Love the Finnish stamps.
And the Inge Look aunties are wonderful!!