Saturday, June 26, 2021

Cambodia 2020 - Scenes of The Reamker Epic

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 28 September 2020 (planned)
Date of Issue: 15 December 2020 (indeed)
2000 R
2500 R
3000 R
4000 R
6000 R (SS)
Quantity: 5,000 pieces
Printer: Vietnam Printing
Designer: Cambodia Post

Monday, May 3, 2021

Monday, May 18, 2020

Israel 1971 - Israel Theater

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 16 February 1971
Method of Printing: Photogravure
Perforation: 14 x 13.25

0.50 Israeli Shekel - The Israel National Opera - Samson and Delilah
0.50 Israeli Shekel - 25th Anniversary of The Cameri Theatre - Inn of the Ghosts
0.50 Israeli Shekel - Inbal Dance Theatre - A Psalm of David

Greece 1979 - EUROPA, Post and Telecommunication

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 12 May 1979
Size: 24 mm x 40 mm
Printed: ASPIOTI-ELKA Graphic Arts Ltd
Designer: P. Gravalos, B.Constantinea
Printing Method: Multi Coloured Offset

The set will include two stamps, linked together and depicting postmen of the Post Office in Crete, from an old post card.

4 Drachmae - Postman of foot and on bicycle (1,000,000 pieces)
7 Drachmae - Mounted postman in rural area (1,000,000 pieces)

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Armenia 1998 - EUROPA, National Holidays

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 24 July 1998
Design: R. Gevondyan 
Perforation: 14¾ x 14

170 Armenian Dram:
Trndez is a big deal in Armenia—such a big deal, in fact, that HayPost, the country’s official national postal operator, issued commemorative postage stamps back in 1998, dedicated to the centuries-old tradition. The stamp features a newlywed couple hurdling over the Trndez flame, while a band plays traditional Armenian musical instruments, including the Zurna (wind instrument) and the Dhol (double-headed drum) in front of an ancient Armenian cathedral.

250 Armenian Dram:
The Feast of the Ascension is one of the ecumenical feasts (universally celebrated) of Christian churches. In the Armenian Apostolic Church it is also known as the Feast of Holy Ascension or Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ascension Day marks the ascent of Jesus Christ into heaven on the fortieth day after his resurrection. The timing is clearly stated in the Acts of the Apostles, therefore every Christian church celebrates the Feast of the Ascension 39 days after Easter.

Despite being part of Oriental Orthodoxy, the Armenian Apostolic Church uses the Gregorian calendar rather then Julian. That is why Ascension Day in Armenia falls on the same day as the Feast of Ascension in Western Christian churches.

In the Armenian Church, there is another reason to commemorate Ascension Day. On this date in 1441, the throne of the Catholicos of All Armenians was returned to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in the city of Vagharshapat after a thousand years of being settled in various cities throughout the country.

Faroe Islands 1998 - EUROPA, National Holidays

Date of Issue: 18 May 1998

On 29th July every year the Faroese celebrate their national festival. It is a thousand-year-old tradition, which is actually a combination of politics and Christianity, an expression of a Christian political culture in this archipelago in the North Atlantic.

The Faroese are the only Nordic people to choose Saint Olav's mass as a national holiday and not only for religious reasons, but also political ones. Olav the Holy was a Norwegian king, not a Faroese one, yet a Faroese saint. On the anniversary of his death at the battle of Stiklestad on 29th July 1030 the Faroese express the essence of their nationality.

The Faroese call their national festival Ólavsvøka, which is the Faroese form of the Latin 'vigilia sancti Olavi'. In Danish this annual festival is called Olai-festen. Olav the saint king has always had a central place in Faroese religious and political tradition and culture.
On this day the Faroe Island's thousand-year-old parliament, Lagtinget, opens in the capital, Tórshavn. The members of Lagstinget, members of the Faroese Home Rule, the bishop and all the clergymen of the country and the highest officials walk in procession from the parliament building, Lagtingshuset, to the cathedral, and, after a special Olai service, back to Lagtingshuset, where the Speaker, the lagmand, holds the opening speech.
In olden days Lagtinget was both a legislative institution and a court of law with 36 and later 48 members. The lagmand was the chairman and the chief judge. The records of Lagtinget, in which the decisions and judgments of the court were written down, have been preserved since 1615 and are kept in the national archives in Tórshavn.

In former times the court was held on the flat rock in Tinganes. It was necessary for the lagmand to keep track of the time, because it was written in the old laws that the court had to be convened when the sun was in the east and that the court had to be in session until three o'clock. On the rock you can still see the sun dials which were carved into it.
The worsening of the climate in the 16th century made it necessary to hold the court indoors. A national court house in Tinganes, Tinghuset, is mentioned in the old protocols of Lagtinget. In 1773 the lower part of Tinganes burned down, and with it the court house. Later a new court house was built closer to the present town.

But in 1816 the old Faroese Lagting was abolished by royal decree and with it also the post of lagmand. After that there was no Faroese authority on the Faroe Islands. The country was placed under direct Danish rule.

When the Faroe Islands' Lagting was re-established in 1852 it was in a completely different form. It was to be an advisory body to the Danish authorities for the administration of the Faroe Islands. It was in this connection that the present Lagtingshus was built in 1856, then outside the town. With the Home Rule Act of 1948 Lagtinget received greater authority.
There have always been ceremonies in connection with the assembly of Lagtinget on Olai day. It is known from ancient sources that may people came to Tórshavn to witness the event. That was the beginning of Ólavsvøka as a national festival. The first church was built in Tórshavn in 1609. In 1733 the dean, Lucas Debes, wrote that every court day began with a service in Tórshavn church.

Today the Lagting procession is an integral part of the Olai festivities. It reflects the old connection between the court and church.

And the many people who watch the procession of Lagting members, clergy and officials from Lagtingshuset to the cathedral and back again expect to see this event as a natural part of the national festivity.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Gibraltar 1998 - Europa, National Days (National Costumes)

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 22 May 1998
Stamp Size: 30 mm x 40 mm
Stamp Values: 26p, 26p, 38p, 38p
Illustration / Photography: GPBL
Printer: Cartor security printers
Process: Offset Lithography
Colours: Multicoloured
Design: Stephen Perera

The theme elected by Post Europ for 1998 was National Days (National Costumes)

The set of 4 stamps depicti the Gibraltar national costume as worn by Miss Gibraltar at the Miss World contest every year.

Europa stamps have been issued annually since 1956. First sets representing the founding 6 members of the ECSC, European Coal and Steel Community, then by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) in 1959, (first stamps issued in 1960) and by PostEurop since 1993. Initially in 1956 a total of 13 stamps were issued with a common design from 6 different countries. A common theme of Peace and Welfare through agriculture and industry was used for 1957. The common design reappeared in 1958 and continued until 1973. From 1974 the designs reflect a common theme.

The common design idea replaced the common theme in 1984, which was the CEPT 25th Anniversary (1959-84) and shows a symbolic bridge, said to represent Liaison, Exchange and Communication. With the split of posts and telecoms providers in most countries, CEPT is no longer responsible, but the postal authorities under the guidance of PostEurop continue the Europa tradition. From 1993 all the stamps have "Europa" inserted into the design in small print. (Source Wikipedia)

German Democratic Republic 1978 - Circus

Date of Issue: 26 September 1978

German Democratic Republic, DDR 1982 - Sorbian Folktales

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 06 July 1982
Perforation: 13 x 12½
Circulation: 3,600,000
Design: Scheuner
Printing Process: Offset Printing

10 Pfennig - "Ptaškowa Swajźba" - Birds' Wedding
The Birds’ Wedding is a custom that has its roots in the pre-Christian era where people sacrificed food to ancestors' ghosts. They expected to get favour and sympathy from the gods of nature.

In the course of time the sacrificial offerings to the ancestors altered into gift-giving to the children due to decreasing belief in ghosts' potency.

Nowadays the Birds' Wedding is celebrated by children on January 25. The reasons for this date are observations from the flora and fauna. Around about this time several bird species begin to nest and lay eggs. It is the time for people awaiting the awakening spring.

It is said the Lusatian Birds' Wedding comes from the Upper Sorbian language region in which this custom is widely spread in families.

In Lower Lusatia it is celebrated in kindergardens and schools where the children feed the birds during winter. In return for this service they can join in their wedding. That is why they put plates and bowls on the ledge. They get a piece of pastry shaped as a magpie (Sorbian: sroka)

In kindergardens the wedding is celebrated with the magpie as the bride and the raven as the groom (Sorbian: wron). The bridal couple is dressed festively, in most cases with Lower Sorbian costumes while the other children are masqueraded as birds. There is even a song about it which each child is learning in the kindergarden. On this day it is sung, of course.

In contrast, adults prefer folksy evenings with a Birds' Wedding programme executed by the Sorbian National Ensemble.

20 Pfennig - Zampern
Traditions and customs constitute moments of culmination and consciousness within the Sorbian (Wendish) culture, yet there is much more to it. The most widely celebrated customs in Lower Lusatia include Shrovetide with its accompanying activity of "Zampern" - groups in fancy dress and more or less traditional masks going from door to door, making music and noise and asking for donations of food and drink -, the Easter fire, the setting up of the Maypole and the harvest custom of cock plucking. These customs closely follow the natural cycle and, true to their pagan origins, are intended to, for example, drive the winter out or promote fertility.

The Sorbian carnival is one of the main festivals in the Lausitz region. The long winter is bidden farewell and evil spirits and demons driven away. One important element of the Sorbian carnival is the so-called custom of Zampern: costumed Zamper people go through the village accompanied by a band with pannier, basket and cashbox. The village residents offer them bacon, eggs, money and brandy. The Zapust is crowned by the traditional carnival dance and the eating of pancakes.

The numerous Easter customs in the region can also be traced back to the Sorbs. They include egg-rolling, fetching Easter water and the widespread tradition of the Easter fire. Easter riding is also celebrated in the Oberlausitz region, particularly among Catholic Sorbs.

25 Pfennig - Waleien
A well known game played by children as well as by adults is "Waleien". Most likely it has ist origins in an ancient magic spell for fertility was supposed to support the growth of fresh grass. Rolling eggs over fields and grass was supposed to have a positive influence on the growth. People dug holes, called "walka", into the ground everywhere on the courts. On Easter Sunday the children went with their beautiful adorned eggs to these places for playing "Waleien". The game is working as follows: An egg was placed at the deepest point of the hole. All players then try to hit this egg with one of theirs. In case of being successful the player was allowed to keep both eggs. Otherwise both eggs stay in the "walka". Often it happened that children lost all eggs. Then coins or buttons were used instead.

Up to the 1960s you could have seen people playing this game in Lower Lusatia but now it is very rare to find someone still practising this custom. Exceptions can be found at a few kindergardens and the Niedersorbisches Gymnasium (Lower Lusatian Grammar School) as well as in a few villages.

The "Eierspecken" or "Eierpicken" has also disappeared. In this very popular game both players had to knock the ends of two eggs together. The owner of the egg which is left intact won the other player's egg.

35 Pfennig - Painting Easter Eggs
On Easter, a Wendish or Sorbian godchild will visit his/her godparents, and receive a gift of a few beautifully painted eggs, some sweet bread, and maybe some money. The children would then take their colored eggs and play a game called Waleien with them, where they are rolled down a slope in a sort of competition. This happens every year until their confirmation, when the child gives a gift to the godparents.

You will recognize Sorbian Easter Eggs by their bright colors and beautiful symmetrical patterns. (Red is the color of love and friendship) Symbols like the Trinity, the Tree of Life and Easter symbols are also quite common. Bees symbolized industriousness, flowers for fertility. Originally, all dyes were natural, today, a little chemical help is also used.

40 Pfennig - Jańske Rejtowanje
The time around Midsummer’s Night is the nature's most powerful period. This is reflected on St. John's Day celebrations on June 24 showing. According to an old belief this day would be the most miraculous of the year. The people believed that curativeness would be caused especially by the Midsummer Night.

Nowadays you can see the "Jańske rejtowanje", a riding procession, only in Casel, a small village near Drebkau. In the middle of the 19th century it was still celebrated in several villages of Lower Lusatia. But not only the locations but also the responsible persons have changed. In former days the village's youth did the job but now it is planned and organised by a special traditions club.

The central figure is "Johann" or "Jan", a man in a fancy dress, personifying the spirit of growth and fruitfulness. You can see that since he is fully covered with flowers and greens, also wearing a crown on his head. This festivity requires substantial efforts to prepare it. Thousands of cornflowers have to be collected in order to make Jan's odd-looking costume. Already on the day before, each girl collects masses of flowers and then plaits wreaths and tendrils some metres long. The young men have to supply water lilies at the crack of dawn in order to complete Jan's crown which is already composed of roses and Carthusian Pinks. The flowers stand for people's vitality and lea's fruitfulness. Cornflowers are also used as medicinal herbs. Water lilies and reeds are signs of the vitally important water.

On the festival's forenoon the maidens begin to dress Jan. Cornflower tendrils are sewn on the garment from the neck down to the knees. Completely decorated, Jan rides from the restaurant to the festival place, accompanied by the village's fellows and a brass band. The riding procession is led by the maidens marching ahead in their white frocks trimmed with blue and red stripes. They take along a second crown which is to present Jan at evening's honouring dance. Having arrived at the festivity area, Jan and his whole attendance ride some rounds through the crowd. Now the companions have a hard job: They have to protect Jan against people making attempts to pull him down the horse in order to loot his flower decoration.

50 Pfennig - The "Bescherkind"
On Wednesday before Christmas, at the last spinning room event of the year, the girls of the village meet to dress the oldest one among them as a "Bescherkind". This Christmas tradition that has only survived in Jänschwalde. The costume's particularly elaborate head decoration is adorn with marriage garlands and three bridesmaid chaplets. To keep the Bescherkind's identity secret, she is covered with netting, ribbons and pearl strings. Two women accompany the "Bescherkind" and a small bell is rung when she arrives. Wrapped up and unable to speak, she gives sweets to the children. The parents and grandparents are touched with a rod to wish them health and good fortune.

The "Bescherkind" can often be seen in the Wendish House, in kindergardens or in schools, especially when Christmas festivities are celebrated for the children.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Uruguay 2020 - MERCOSUR - Moda

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 13 May 2020
Series: “MERCOSUR-Moda” 

Size of Stamps: 30mm x 42mm 
Print Run: 15,000 (Consisting of 2 stamps)
Value: $ 95 (a stamp of $ 25 and another of $ 70, Uruguayan Pesos)
Sheets: Made up of 24 stamps
Graphic Design: Alvaro Rodríguez
Designs: Fashion Designers Gustavo Guigou / Gustavo García
Photos: Parallada / Pazos-Landarín
Models: Florencia Alba/ Sharif Dogliotti
Printing: Sanfer S.R.L.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Singapore 2006 - Vanishing Trades

This set of ten stamps (1st local and 80 cents) was issued by Singapore Post on 24 May 2006. The stamps feature illustrations of trades which were once common in Singapore. The stamps were designed by Tze Ngan. 

Date of Issue: 24 May 2006 
Size: 2.40 cm x 3.40 cm

1st local - Wooden Bucket Maker
1st local - Clog Maker
1st local - Satay Man
1st local - Snake Charmer
1st local - Spice Grinder
80 Cent - Chinese Medicinal Tea Shop
80 Cent - ‘Roti’ (Bread) Man
80 Cent - Man Working at a ‘Mama’ Store
80 Cent - Tin Bucket Maker
80 Cent - Back Lane Barber

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Singapore 2014 - Vanishing Trades (Collector's Sheet)

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 26 November 2014
Denominations: 40c, 60c, 70c, 90c
Stamp Size: 32mm x 28mm
Perforation: 13 x 13
Paper: Unwatermarked
Printing Process: Offset lithography
Printer: Southern Colour Print
Sheet Content: 50 stamps per sheet
Designed by: Lim An-Ling

Vanishing trades form part of our nation's rich cultural heritage and bear testimonies to the growing and building of yesteryear Singapore. Early immigrants who came to Singapore started small businesses, with many of them as peddlers at the streets and along the five-foot-ways of the shophouses.

Dairy Men
Dairy men migrated from Tamil Nadu in South India and Uttar Pradesh in North India to Malaya at the beginning of the 20th century. They catered mainly to the growing Indian community around Serangoon Road. As part of the delivery routine, they would bring along their goats or cows and travel on foot from house to house offering truly fresh milk. Some of them would also deliver cans of milk by bicycle.

Kachang Puteh Sellers
Kachang puteh sellers were primarily Indians selling nuts, beans or peas (collectively known as "kachang' in Malay) that were either steamed, fried, roasted or dipped in sugar. The early kachang puteh sellers were roving vendors who plied their goods which were usually displayed on a rack or tray.

Songkok Makers
Songkok makers were predominantly from Sumatra or of Sumatran descent. They catered to the Malay/ Muslim communities in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, who often wore this traditional head gear when attending prayers at the mosque, other religious events, as well as festive celebrations such as Hari Raya Haji and Puasa.

Beaded Slippers Makers
Beaded slippers makers were traditionally Peranakan women who had to learn bead work prior to marriage as part of a Peranakan custom. Using beads, these makers had to stitch patterns onto a piece of needlepoint fabric stretched upon a wooden frame. Once the beading work had been completed, the beaded cloth would be sent to the cobbler to be made into slippers.

Lantern Makers
Lantern makers were once a popular trade during the early days of Singapore. The lantern makers painted over oiled paper stretched over interwoven ribs of delicate bamboo. The painted lanterns often depict famous figures from legend and/or Chinese characters for good luck and longevity.

Cage Makers
Cage makers require patience and skills in filling and smoothening the wood, shaping and assembling the cage and carving intricate patterns on the base of the cage. Even application of the lacquer glaze would need skilful handwork by the cage makers. The cage is a piece of art, and well-made cages require both quality wood and skilful ccraftsmanship.

Goldsmiths arrived in Singapore from Sri Lanka in the late 19th century and from South India and Gujarat in the mid-20th century. They would sit on floor mats or work over small benches while hand crafting pieces of jewellery. Their tools of the trade include screws, files, hammers, acid, sandpaper, water and a lamp.

Knife Sharpeners
Knife sharpeners were predominantly Cantonese Chinese and Malay, and many of them could be found along five-foot-ways in Singapore or travelled from one housing estate to another with their tools of trade. The tools of trade for a knife sharpener would typically include a pail of water, a grindstone and sheets of sandpaper.

Ice-Ball Sellers
Ice-ball sellers were primarily Indian vendors who sold drinks and ice-balls at the same time. Ice-ball sellers typically operate pushcarts laden with bottles of soft drinks, ingredients and a wooden ice-shaver. The Ice-balls could either be drenched in colourful syrup and/or milk, and sometimes include fillings such as cooked red beans or "attap-chees".

Parrot Astrologers
Parrot astrologers arrived in Singapore during the late 19th century from India. They often used parakeets to pick up tarot cards so that they could interpret the cards to foretell a person's future. The tools of their trade would include a small table or rug, a set of 27 fortune cards, astrology charts, a notebook and a parakeet.

Cobblers offer shoe-repair services such as the replacement of worn out soles and heels as well as the polishing of shoes. During the early days, the trade was dominated by Chinese males and many cobblers could be found along "five-foot-ways", at the corners of pavements along busy roads, and on sidewalks within the vicinity of bus-stops.

Garland Makers
Garland maker is a popular trade among the Indians, and it takes many years for a garland maker to learn how to skilfully weave the loose flowers in a garland. Traditionally flower garlands were part of offerings and prayers in the Indian community. The most common flowers used to make them are the marigold, rose, and jasmine.

Kite Makers
Kite makers first decide on the length and width of the kite to be made. This frame was made out of the bamboo, in which the bamboo was then cut into the right thickness for the frame, wing and tail sections. After the skeleton was completed it was tied with raffia and filled in with paper of different types and colours to create various designs.

Chinese Calligraphers
Chinese calligraphers are commonly found in the old Chinatown area. Many of them took on the role as letter writers as well. The letter writers wrote letters for the illiterate for a fee during the early days of Singapore. In this way, many Chinese early immigrants were able to stay in touch with their families back home in China.

North Korea 2016 - National Costumes

Date of Issue: 09 July 2016

Korean Traditional Costumes:
10 Won - National Costumes (In the Period of the Three Countries)
30 Won - National Costumes (In the Period of Koryo Dynasty)
40 Won - National Costumes (In the Period of Feudal Joson Dynasty)
50 Won - National Costumes (In the Period of Feudal Joson Dynasty)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Austria 2020 - National Costumes, Accessories and Decorations

Technical Details:
Issue Date: 01 April 2020
Stamp Size: 25 mm x 25 mm
Graphic Design: Anita Kern
Pressure: Joh. Enschedé Stamps B. V., Offset printing
Edition: As needed on rolls or. Sets & Sets

Definitive stamps series "Costume - Accessories and Decorations" of the Austrian Post with 16 motifs is dedicated to a popular and traditional theme that plays a major role in Austrian culture.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Uruguay 1999 - Historical Facts of Uruguay, The Last Charrúas

Technical Details: 
Issue Date: 22 July 1999 
Value: $ 14.- comp series for two reasons of $ 7.- each (Uruguayan Pesos) 
Illustrator: Elena Maldonado 
Chuck: 35,000 series

Historical Facts of Uruguay - The Last Charrúas

The stamps illustrate a valuable iconographic document made by Delaunois when these Charrúas were taken to Paris in 1833.

The picture was published by Dr. Paul Rivet in his well-known work ―Les Derniers Charrúas˜ in 1930. It is believed that the artist has captured this image in a corralón where they were exhibited as animals for the Parisian society of the time.

Although the drawing does not convey the real physiognomy that the group surely showed since it is known that they were in an advanced state of malnutrition (the sheet shows them robust) and that the clothes surely do not respond to the original ones of the Charrúas, the document has a high historical value for being one of the last known images of these Charrúas.

The Charrúas that appear in the drawing are: the cacique Vaimaca-Peru (famous lancero of Artigas), the healer Senaqué, the young warrior Tacuabé (recognized horse tamer) and his companion Guyunusa with whom the latter had a daughter.

Source: BIBLIOGRAPHY: ˜ The world of the Charrúas˜, Daniel Vidart, Editions of the Eastern Band, Montevideo 1996; ˜La Nación Charrúa˜, Rodolfo maruca Sosa, Editorial ˜Letras˜, Montevideo 1957.


The Last of the Charrua: The Honored Warrior Tribe of Uruguay

Uruguay is said to be the only Latin American country without an indigenous population. However, they did have a fearsome warrior tribe living in the country for thousands of years. Believed to be the last, or only, true Uruguayan indigenous culture, the Charrúa lived in Uruguay and neighboring areas of Argentina and Brazil starting 4000 years ago. The genocide of the Charrúa began in 1833 by Uruguay's first president, with four captives being sent to France as a sideshow. Recently debate has re-emerged on the existence of full-blooded descendents of this indigenous tribe thought to be extinct.
The Origins of the Charrúa Culture

Documents concerning the Charrúa in Uruguay before the arrival of the Spanish have yet be discovered. Thus, the history and origins of the Charrúa culture before colonial times remains somewhat uncertain. However, archaeological evidence shows that the Charrúa culture began in Uruguay roughly 4000 years ago, when they may have been pushed south by the Guarani tribe.

The Charrúa people were semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers who lived throughout Uruguay and the Northeast of Argentina as well as Southern Brazil. It is known that they were adept with the bow and arrow and when horses arrived, they became quite good at hunting wild cattle.

Historians assert that the Charrúa culture was created as a mixture of the caingang and thepatagones collectives. Their language is believed to be related to the mataco-guaicurú family. The origins of the name 'Charrúa' are disputed, with some historians suggesting indigenous roots and others favoring Galician instead.

The Fearsome Charrúa Warriors

The Charrúa warriors became very skilled in battle and for this reason they are pivotal heroes in modern Uruguayan culture. Allegedly, the Charrúas killed the Spanish explorers on their first arrival. This led to three centuries of resistance and rebellion. Not only did the Charrúas fight against the Spanish; they were also involved in battles at times against the British, Portuguese and later Brazilian powers.

The undoing of the Charrúa culture was not fear or weakness. The Charrúa are believed to have drunk from the skulls of their dead enemies during ceremonies and cut themselves or even remove their finger joints at the death of a loved one.

The Ends of Uruguay's Charrúa Culture - Intermarriage, Genocide, Slavery and Escape

The decline of the Charrúa culture began with intermarriage with Europeans. After the Charrúas had proved their strength against their opponents, they began to trade and intermingle. This left them open to foreign disease and a decline in their genes.

This decrease was nothing in comparison to the devastating event that took place on April 11, 1831. It is on that day at Puntas del Queguay, the terrible massacre known as the "Slaughter of Salsipuedes" (translated as "Get out if you can") took place.

The first Uruguayan president, Fructuoso Rivera, originally had a peaceful relationship with the Charrúa, however tension increased as European settlers began to advance onto the Charrúa land. The response of the Charrúa was to attack these small settlements.

Documents show that on April 11, 1833, Rivera met with the main Charrúa chiefs - Polidoro, Rondeau, Brown, Juan Pedro and Venado – and their tribes, supposedly to discuss the protection of the State’s borders. Then he gave the Charrúa large amounts of alcohol, and once they were drunk he brought in his men to kill them.

This marked the beginning of the Charrúa genocide that lasted for two years and sent thousands of the Charrúa to their graves, thousands more out of Uruguay and the rest into slavery.

After the Slaughter of Salsipuedes, four Charrúa members were reportedly captured and sent to France, where they were "put on display" for Parisians in 1833. For most Uruguayan historians and anthropologists, they were the last of the Charrúas - the famous four Charrúas depicted in the monument found in Montevideo today. Their names were: Vaimaca-Perú - the chief, the 'curandero' or shaman - Senaqué, the young warrior Tacuabé, and his partner, Guyunusa, along with their newborn daughter.

The Charrúa in Modern Uruguay

In 2002, the remains of Vaicama-Perú were returned to Uruguay, where they received a hero's welcome. Vaicama was subsequently buried in the national pantheon. Before he was interred however, his DNA was tested. The results show that Vaicama came from the local Charrúa culture with a lineage of over 1,600 years.

Recently debate has re-emerged that there are full-blooded descendents of the Charrúa culture living in Uruguay. The individuals who declare themselves as indigenous Charrúa are fighting to reclaim their rights. This issue has been hotly debated as history has continually taught modern Uruguayans that all indigenous Charrúa were killed during the genocide and those who remained are of mixed-blood. Modern Uruguayan anthropologists disagree with the descendents claims as well. This question and the legal consequences continue.

Nonetheless, the Charrúa spirit lives on not only in the blood descendents, but also in the honor of the strong Charrúa warrior in modern Uruguayan culture. The use of the "charrúa" now also refers to modern day Uruguayan soccer players who also often see their matches as battles. Charrúa is also a term used in conversation when a person is faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but they achieve their goals.

Uruguay 2012 - 125th Anniversary of the National Firefighter

Technical Details:
Issue Date: 26 October 2012
Face Value: $48 (4 stamps of $12 Uruguayan Pesos each)
Graphic design: Eduardo Salgado
Print-Run: 60,000 stamps (4 motifs, 15,000 of each one)
Printing House: Sanfer SRL
Sheet: 16 stamps per sheet

The stamp was issued to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the National Firefighters institution. It depicts an image of "Cuartel Centenario" (Centenario Station) which opened on the 18th July, 1930, and was declared national historical monument in 2002. Those who died serving others while firefighting were payed homage. During its 125 years: 400.000 rescue operations have been carried out, more than 730.000 fires have been fought and more than a million of interventions have been performed. In this period 35 firefighters lost their lives. Also the American Firefighters' Organization was recognized by our country as a international non-profit organization. This enabled the exchange among, and training of, firefighters from the Americas.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Finland 2019 - Maternity Box

Technical Details:
Issue Date: 23 January 2019
Designer: Dog Design

The Maternity Package:

The Maternity package (Finnish: äitiyspakkaus, Swedish: moderskapsförpackning) is a kit granted by the Finnish social security institution Kela, to all expectant or adoptive parents who live in Finland or are covered by the Finnish social security system. The package contains children's clothes and other necessary items, such as nappies, bedding, cloth, gauze towels and child-care products. It was first issued in 1938 to parents with a low income, and contained a blanket, crib sheets, diapers, and fabric which parents could use to make clothing for the baby.

Since 1949 it has been given to all mothers-to-be, provided they visited a doctor or municipal pre-natal clinic before the end of their fourth month of pregnancy, and the pregnancy has lasted at least 154 days. The contents of the package are updated approximately every year.

Following a BBC story in June 2013, the baby box began to receive international attention. Similar packages, commercial or state-sponsored, are being trialled around the world. Private companies have started selling packages purporting to be the "Finnish baby box" or similar to it, but the original boxes are not sold commercially.

In 1949, the box given was standard to all expectant mothers who visited a doctor before the fourth month of pregnancy per the Finnish Maternity Grants Act. A baby bottle was added to the package, but was removed in later packages to encourage breastfeeding. The requirement to visit a doctor as a prerequisite to receiving the package was done in order ensure that the woman received adequate prenatal care.

The box containing the package transforms into a crib in which many newborns have their first naps. A mother may choose to take the maternity package, or a cash grant of 140 euros, but 95% of Finnish mothers choose the box because it's worth significantly more. The maternity package can either be applied for online, on Kela's website, or by completing and returning a form.

The current package contents include bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, nappies and cream, bedding and a small mattress (allowing the box to be used as a crib), a hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, wash cloth, muslin squares, a picture book, teething toy, bra pads, and condoms. Condoms are included by way of precaution, not as a discouragement, as a new pregnancy is possible within a few weeks of childbirth and many parents wish to have a little time between the births of their children.

The maternity package is not a commercial product, and therefore Kela cannot sell it. Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge received a maternity package as a gift from Kela in 2013. Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden were given one in 2012.

Content of the package/ the box contained following items:
  • Snowsuit / sleeping bag 68–74 cm (27–29 in)
  • Insulated mittens and booties
  • Sleeping bag / blanket 95 cm × 95 cm (37 in × 37 in)
  • Light-weight overall with hood 68–74 cm
  • Wool-blend coverall 68–74 cm
  • Wool cap
  • Balaclava hood 62–68 cm (24–27 in)
  • Cap
  • College overall / jumpsuit 62–68 cm
  • Romper suit 50–56 cm (20–22 in)
  • Wrap around body suit 50–56 cm
  • Bodysuit with extender 62–68 cm
  • Bodysuit 68–74 cm
  • Bodysuit 62–68 cm
  • 2 × Wrap around bodysuit 50–56 cm
  • 2 × Leggings 62–68 cm
  • 2 × Leggings 68–74 cm
  • 2 × Footed leggings 50–56 cm
  • Tights 62–68 cm
  • Socks and mittens 19–21
  • Socks 19–21
  • Sleeping bag / nightdress 62–68 cm
  • Bedding and linen
  • Blanket, off-white 80 cm × 120 cm (31 in × 47 in)
  • Duvet cover with pattern of baby footprints on green background 85 cm × 130 cm (33 in × 51 in)
  • White sheet 90 cm × 150 cm (35 in × 59 in)
  • Protector 90 cm × 150 cm (can be used, for instance, as protection for the mattress)
  • Mattress 700 mm × 428 mm × 40 mm (27.6 in × 16.9 in × 1.6 in)
  • Pocket nappy and cotton gauze insert
  • Towel 85 cm × 85 cm (33 in × 33 in)
  • Personal care items (bra pads, nail scissors, toothbrush, digital thermometer, talcum powder, nipple cream, condoms (6pcs), lubricant, sanitary towels, bath thermometer, hairbrush)
  • Feeding bib
  • Drooling bib / scarf
  • First book titled "Lystileikit vauvan kanssa” in Finnish and Swedish
  • Cuddly toy / comfort blanket
The program resulted in increased prenatal care for pregnant women, and decreased infant mortality. The program is now considered a part of the culture of Finland.

As of June 2019, there had been one experimental study conducted on the use of baby boxes (a.k.a., "cardboard bassinets"), in combination with safe sleep education, for reducing bed-sharing, which is a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sleep-related deaths (SRD). Researchers at Temple University Hospital assigned study participants (i.e., mother-infant dyads) to one of the following conditions for postpartum hospital discharge: standard hospital discharge instructions; standard instructions plus additional safe infant sleep education based on the AAP safe infant sleep recommendations; or both types of instruction plus a gifted baby box from The Baby Box Company. The researchers concluded that the third condition (i.e., both types of instruction plus a gifted baby box) reduced the rate of bed-sharing during the first week of the infant's life (as self-reported by the participating mothers), particularly for exclusively breasfeeding mother-infant dyads.

Finland 2017 - Finland Coat of Arms

Technical Details:
Issue Date: 24 May 2017
Designer: Design Pekka Piippo, Valokuva Martti Jämsä
Values: 10€

About Finland Coat of Arms

Finland's coat of arms 1917 is a ten-euro special stamp designed by Pekka Piippo.

The only visible printing on the embossed stamp is its golden foil. In UV light, the map of Finland and a graph depicting the genetic background of Finns appear on the miniature sheet and the stamp. The graph is based on research carried out by Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, which is part of the University of Helsinki, and the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

The background of the stamp features an iconic photograph taken by Martti Jämsä in the series Summer (1994-2003). In the photo, a small child is standing in a calm Finnish lake with a swimming ring, looking towards the opposite shore. Many Finns have memories about moments of this kind.

Finland 2017 - Model 1917 Saarinen, Coat of Arms

Technical Details:
Issue Date: 24 May 2017
Designer: Susanna Rumpu, Ari Lakaniemi 
Original Design: Elien Saarinen

About Model 1917 Saarinen

The idea of the lion-themed coat of arms stamps comes from the first Finnish stamp publications, the Model 1917 Saarinen stamps. The miniature sheet is a tribute to two stamps designed by architect Eliel Saarinen, but the original payment indication in Finnish marks has been replaced with the payment indication of a domestic no-value indicator stamp.

The name of the first stamps of independent Finland comes from the name of Eliel Saarinen, the designer of the stamps. The first stamp in the series already came out on October 1, 1917, before Finland gained her independence, and the remaining eight stamps in the series with different values were published by the end of December 1917. In addition, 19 new different stamps with different color and value combinations were published later. All in all, 28 different stamps were published. In 1919 and 1921, they were provided with a surcharge increasing their nominal value, due to inflation. The last Saarinen stamps remained in use until the end of 1930.

The miniature sheet consisting of two stamps was designed by Ari Lakaniemi and Susanna Rumpu.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Portugal 2016 - Cante Alentejano

Technical Details:
Issue Date: 27 April 2016
Designer: Atelier Design&etc
Printer: Bpost
Process: Offset
Colours: 4 Colours
Size:Stamps: 30,6 x 40 mm, Souvenir sheet: 125 x 95 mm
Values: €0.47, 0.80

About Cante Alentejano

Cante Alentejo, Canto às Vozes or simply Cante, is a style of choral singing whose sole musical instrument is the human voice. Associating music with poetry, it is interpreted irrespective of gender or age.

Its interpreters perform either in organised groups or informally. In its more organised form, choral groups or ranchos can be men only, women only or mixed, adults, children or young adults, or all ages. Informally, it is sung in public or in private at various occasions and events, as in the case of Cante em Taberna (sung in taverns).

It is through Cante that the modas are interpreted – poetic texts traditionally comprised of two stanzas that are almost always linked by a leixa-pren (a stylistic device typical of medieval lyric-poetry from the Iberian Peninsula). Associated with the moda is the cantiga, generally a traditional or popular stanza with four verses. The interpretative canon alternates between the cantiga and the moda. A call and response sequence is developed between the soloist or ponto and the chorus or baixos, while the soloist is introduced by another singer called the alto.

Asagenre, isassociatedwithSouthernPortugal,especiallythe Baixo Alentejo region. Today, however, its geography extends beyond its historical region. It is found in the Algarve, in coastal, central and upper Alentejo and in the peripheries of the cities of Setúbal and Lisbon.

Scholars have differing views on its origins: pre-Roman, Mozarab, Arab, Christian, Jewish or even a result of the presence of African slaves. What can be said for certain is that the genre evolved over the course of the 20th century by freeing itself of the chordophone (viola de Beja) and by continuing the tradition of singing without instrumentation in Central Alentejo. Its call and response mode of interpretation appears to be associated with the evolution in the 18th century of singing in honour of St. John the Baptist and in traditional theatre associated with the Ciclo dos 12 Dias (the period between Christmas Day and Epiphany during which traditional Christmas songs are sung). In a number of villages bordering Spain, a medieval festival named As Santas Cruzes (Holy Crosses) or Invenção da Santa Cruz (Invention of the Holy Cross), is associated with choral singing, an example of which is Vila Nova de São Bento, where formal groups and/or groups formed in school projects continue to sing the ancient forms of popular piety. Aesthetically, in terms of dress and ornamentation, choral groups can be categorised into ethnographic groups, such as Grupo Coral e Etnográfico da Casa do Povo de Serpa (1928), Grupo Coral e Etnográfico Misto Alma Alentejana de Peroguarda (1936), Grupo Coral e Etnográfico Os Camponeses de Vale de Vargo (1968), Grupo Coral e Etnográfico Amigos do Alentejo, in Feijó (1986), and Grupo Coral e Etnográfico da Casa do Povo de Brinches; industry-associated groups, like the one from the Aljustrel mining complex, Grupo Coral do Sindicato dos Mineiros de Aljustrel [1926/1947]; or groups that emulate the orpheonic movement, as typified by Grupo Coral Feminino de Cantares das Alcáçovas (2001). Groups composed of younger members, such as Grupo Coral Os Mainantes, in Pias (2014), choose to wear simpler garments.

On 27 November 2014, Cante Alentejano was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. As a Heritage of Humanity, Cante now lives in a new era where the local meets the global. And it is in this encounter that its contemporaneity is now being played out. Like few other musical genres, Cante has always known how to reinvent itself while being traditional. And it is in this crossover of the old and the new that Cante springs forth, and with it, the entire identity of Alentejo.

Paulo Lima Casa do Cante

Portugal 2017 - Joint Issue With India, Traditional Dances

Technical Details:
Issue Date: 07 January 2017
Designer: Atelier Design & Túlio Coelho
Perforation: 11 1/4 x 11 1/4
Printer: INCM
Process: Offset
Paper: 110 gr
Size: 40 x 30,6 mm
Values: €0.47 (125,000), €0.80 (105,000); SS €1.27 (40,000)

Portugal and India have enjoyed more than 500 years of a meeting of cultures that is extremely enriching for both sides.  Between the two populations there are families ties, both ancient and modern, and there are economic and political opportunities from which to benefit, that can undoubtedly gain leverage from such an old and respected relationship. For all these reasons, the postal operators of Portugal and of India decided to celebrate this centuries-old friendship between the two peoples by means of a joint issue of postage stamps, coinciding with the official visit of the Prime Minister of Portugal to India.

The theme chosen for the stamps in both countries came of the realisation that both Portugal and India possess, in their deepest folkloric roots, two dances with undeniable similarities.  Both were warrior dances, using sticks as props to symbolise ancestral swords: Dandiya, the stick dance of Gujarat, and the dance of the Pauliteiros de Miranda.  The Dandiya (a term from the northeast of India meaning "stick") was created thousands of years ago as an expression of devotion in honour of the mother-goddess Durga.  In this dance, colourful decorated sticks, or dandiyas, represent the swords of the goddess.  This dance, which is still performed today, enacts the mythical battle between the goddess and the demon-king Mahishasura.

The female dancers move rhythmically in circles around the mandvi, wearing traditional dresses with highly coloured accecories - choli, ghagra, and bandhani dupattas.  Their hair is usually adorned with mirrors, pieces of glass or jewels that reflect the light .  In turn, the male dancers, who also dress in the traditional clothing of their regions - turbans and kedias - onto which are sewn mirrors to increase the luminous effect, move in a separate ring to that of the women and in the opposite direction.

The traditional dance, therefore, consists of two independent circles.  The movements of both sets of dancers are energetic, whirling around each other with the sticks (dandiya) in their hands, to the carious rhythms of different types of drum - dhol, dholak, bongo, etc.  The Dandiya dances are mostly performed in the evening during the Navrati festival, in honour of the goddess-mother, in the State of Gujarat.

The dance of the Pauliteiros is the most important folkloric manifestation of Terra de Miranda, although its reach extends far beyond the municipality of Miranda do Douro.

Its origin may lie in the ancient Greek pyrrhic dance, which is thought to have been spread by the Romans throughout the Miranda region.  This was a dance used in teaching and military training in which the performers, lined up in two rows, simulated attack and defence manoeuvres, using sticks as weapons as they moved to the sound of a flute.  According to Antonio Maria Mourinho, this dance is common to other regions on the Iberian Peninsula and incorporates traditions and military presentations that have developed indigenously.

Accompanied by three musical (bagpipe, snare drum and bass drum), the eight dancers in the group have the role of guides or foot soldiers, either left or right, depending on their position.  They wear woollen socks, white skirts with scarves hanging from the waist, white linen shirts, sackcloth waistcoats and hats decorated with ribbons and/or flowers, and the choreographies they perform are known as Ihacos.

The Pauliteiros de Miranda are mostly located throughout the various parishes of the municipality of Miranda do Douro, but there are groups based outside the area, as well as oooutside the country, which also take the name Pauliteiros de Miranda.  There are groups formed specifically by certain age groups and currently there are also some groups formed exclusively by women.

Note: The text on the Pauliteiros de Miranda is written by Alberto A. Araujo Fernandes, Master in the Cultural Heritage of Miranda

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Poland 1994 - Traditional Folk Dances

3000 Polish Złoty - Mazur = Masurian/ Masurian dance (Mazurka)
4000 Polish Złoty - Góralski = from the Gorals/ Highlander dance
3000 Polish Złoty - Krakowiak = Cracovienne / Cracovian dance (Krakowiak)

Uzbekistan 2003 - Headdress of Uzbekistan

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 07 October 2003
Width: 30 mm
Height: 42 mm
Number in set: 7
Layout/Format: Sheet of 32
Perforations: 14 by 14
Stamp Issuing Authority: JSC Uzbekistan Markasi
Printer: SPS Davlat belgisi

Headdress of Uzbekistan:
100 Uzbekistani Soʻm - Kula-tung Shakhrisabz, XIX-XX Centuries
100 Uzbekistani Soʻm - Men's skull cap XIX-XX Centuries
100 Uzbekistani Soʻm - Smart skull cap, Khorazm, XIX-XX Centuries
125 Uzbekistani Soʻm - Woman's skull cap, Khiva, XIX-XX Centuries
125 Uzbekistani Soʻm - Kokand, XIX-XX Centuries
155 Uzbekistani Soʻm - Children's smart scull-cap XIX-XX Centuries
155 Uzbekistani Soʻm - Men's scull-cap, Samarkand XIX-XX Centuries

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

South Korea 2019 - Taegeukgi in History

Technical Details:
Date of Issue: 14 August 2019
Stamp Size: 36 mm x 26 mm
Perforation: 13¾ X 13¼
Denomination: 380 Korean Won
Quantity: 1,120,000.-
Printer: White Underwatermarked
Printing Process & Colors: Offset, Four Colors
Printer: Southern Colour Print for POSA
Designer: Ryi Jihyeong

Taegeukgi in History:

Taegeukgi is renowned as the most philosophical of all the national flags in the world. But did you know that up until 100 years ago, many different types of Taegeukgi existed? Korea Post is issuing commemorative stamps that feature the different faces of Taegeukgi that most people are unfamiliar with.

In the later years of the Korean Empire, King Gojong bestowed a gift to a United States diplomatic advisor named Denny. The gift was none other than Taegeukgi, which came to be known as O. N. Denny`s Taegeukgi. This oldest extant Taegeukgi is estimated to have been made in 1890 and is currently held at the National Museum of Korea.
The wave of modernization that started with the proclamation of the Korean Empire in 1897 prompted the creation of Taegeukgi for educational purposes. For example, Taegeukgi at Seongyojang House, Gangneung is known to have been created and used by the students of Dongjin School in Gangneung in the early 1900s. Myeongsin School for Girls (presently Sookmyung Girls’ Middle School and High School) also created their own Taegeukgi in 1906 when the Honorable Princess Consort of the Eom Clan founded the school. Also, Taegeukgi of Dongduk Women s Academy was flown on the foundation day of the school in 1908.

Sadly, the loss of national sovereignty took place almost concurrently with modernization. Under the Japanese occupation, Taegeukgi became a symbol of resistance. The Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905, also known as the Eulsa Unwilling Treaty, enraged many, including Go Gwang-sun, a general of the righteous army. In 1907, General Go created Taegeukgi with Chinese Characters Meaning Liberation is Not Far Off and led the anti-Japanese movement.

While the creation of Taegeukgi Woodblock, which had Taegeukgi engraved on a woodblock, enabled the mass production of Taegeukgi for the March 1st movement, Taegeukgi Embroidered by Nam Sang-rak was made by the independence activist Nam Sang-rak who hand-stitched the entire flag on silk and used it as part of the Korean independence movement on April 4, 1919. Taegeukgi at Jingwansa Temple was said to have been made by the monks who participated in the March 1st movement.

Taegeukgi of the Provisional Korean National Council were donated by the family of Kim Bung-jun, who served as the president of the Provisional Korean National Council. These Taegeukgis are precious artifacts that represent the changes made to Taegeukgi during the time of the Provisional Korean National Council.

Korean people s yearning for independence reached the United States through Taegeukgi. Taegeukgi with Chinese Characters Meaning Long Live Korean Independence! on a triangular pennant and Taegeukgi with Kim Gu`s Writings and Signature which Kim Gu gave to Maeusa, a Catholic priest who was leaving for America, clearly prove how the spirit of independence was alive both inside and outside Korea.

Korea finally gained independence on August 15th 1945, and the oaths for the continuing effort to regain full sovereignty are written on Taegeukgi with Writings and Signatures of the Soldiers of the Korean Liberation Army.

The Korean peninsula was again swept up in turmoil with the onset of the Korean War on June 25th 1950. Taegeukgi with the Writings and Signatures of Gyeongju Student Soldiers which represents the iron will of the student soldiers, and Yi Cheol-hui`s Taegeukgi with Chinese Characters Meaning Outbreak of War, which illustrates the army s forward passage and their military spirit, can be viewed at the Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan.

During the Second Battle of Seoul, a U.S. marine named Busbea was handed a Taegeukgi by Korean citizens. This Taegeukgi, which is called Taegeukgi Donated by A. W. Busbea, a U.S. Marine can be found at the Hanam Museum of History.

These sixteen images on the commemorative stamps display the history of Taegeukgi, in which Koreans spirit and yearning for independence breathe soundly. As we celebrate the upcoming Independence Day, we hope that these stamps will provide everyone with the chance to reflect on our history and show profound gratitude to those who fought for the country s independence and freedom

O.N. Denny's Taegeukgi 
Taegeukgi of Myeongsin School for Girls
Taegeukgi with Chinese Characters Meaning "Liberation is Not Far Off"
Taegeukgi of Dongduk Women's Academy
Taegeukgi at Seongyojang House, Gangneung
Taegeukgi Woodblock
Taegeukgi at Jingwansa Temple
Taegeukgi Embroidered by Nam Sang-rak
Taegeukgi of the Provisional Korean National Council 1
Taegeukgi of the Provisional Korean National Council 2
Taegeukgi with Kim Gu's Writings & Signature
Taegeukgi Chinese Character's Meaning "Long Live Korean Independence"
Taegeukgi with the Writings & Signatures of the Soldiers of The Korean Liberation Army
Yi Cheol-hui's Taegeukgi with Chinese Characters Meaning "Outbreak of War"
Taegeukgi Donated by A.W. Busbea, a US Marine
Taegeukgi with Writings & Signatures of Gyeongju Student Soldiers