An illuminating tradition

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15 December 2022
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Christmas and the beautiful tradition of lighting Advent candles is celebrated in the 2022 Christmas two-stamp set from the Faroe Islands designed by Heiðrik á Heygum

Christmas and the beautiful tradition of lighting Advent candles is celebrated in the 2022 Christmas two-stamp set from the Faroe Islands designed by Heiðrik á Heygum. 

Both traditions originated in Germany, although its believed that the Advent candle tradition began only at the beginning of the 19th century, when German theologian Hinrich Wishern used them to illustrate to children in the Mission School in Hamburg the number of days leading up to Christmas. As the practice of lighting candles for Advent grew, a single candle would be lit on the first day, increasing in number each day in the run-up to the winter solstice and Christmas to bring more light into the house as the winter darkness increasingly gathered outside. The 19 DKK stamp depicts the Advent wreath, which spread to Denmark and grew popular after WW2, and from then arrived in the Faroe Islands.

The new 29DKK stamp shows a Christmas tree lit by candles. The German tradition of celebrating Christmas with a decorated tree originated in the 16th century, when artisans’ guilds would throw parties for children where the centrepiece would be a spruce tree bedecked with gifts. The first Danish Christmas trees began to appear early in the 19th century, and in the Faroe Islands was first seen early in the 20th century.

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‘The Christmas tree and the Advent wreath are relatively recent traditions in the Faroe Islands, almost as fresh to us as the Faroese visual arts,’ said Heiðrik á Heygum.

‘The Faroese embraced these beautiful Christmas traditions – the Advent wreath around the 1940’s and the Christmas tree in the early 1900s. Christmastide is a traditional, reflective and nostalgic celebration and very close to our hearts. Therefore, I thought it would be appropriate to depict our Christmas traditions in a traditional way.’

 

Issue date 24 October; https://en.stamps.fo/