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05 November 2020

Christmas 2020

Ireland: Christmas 2020, 5 November 2020. Images from An Post and eBay.

Technical Specifications:

Issued on: 2020-11-05
Size: 37.5 x 26 mm
Colors: Multicolor
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 13
Printing: Offset lithography
Gum: Self-Adhesive
Denominations: 4 x N (fFace value €1.00 on day of issue), 2 x W (face value €1.70 on day of issue)

Postman Deliverying Christmas Mail:

Issued in booklet panes containing five sets of the four designs of this value in this series.

Mother and Child Cooking Together:

Issued in booklet panes containing five sets of the four designs of this value in this series.

Holy Family:

Issued in booklet panes containing five sets of the four designs of this value in this series.

Santa’s Sleigh Over Town:

Issued in booklet panes containing five sets of the four designs of this value in this series.

Video Conference Christmas Chat:

Issued in booklet panes containing two sets of the designs of this face value and one additional W stamp.

Angel:

Issued in booklet panes containing two sets of the designs of this face value and one additional W stamp.

Article from breakingnews.ie, published on 20 November 2020:

An Post Christmas stamps see 2020-themed twist

An Post has revealed its new Christmas stamp collection for 2020, featuring a twist on the year that has seen the nation become accustomed to the idea of “living with Covid-19.”

The six stamps include some new pandemic-style traditions and show “the importance of keeping people and communities connected while staying apart this year.”

These include home baking with family, online calls with family and friends, and a postperson checking in with an older customer while social distancing.

The stamps, illustrated by Liz Rackard and designed by Detail Design Studio, also include the more traditional Christmas images of an angel and a nativity scene.

“Christmas will be very different for everyone this year and a personal greeting to family and friends will mean more than ever before,” Julie Gill of An Post said.

“Our advice is to send early to ensure your present or card gets there in time for Christmas. This is especially the case when mailing abroad so post early.”

An Post said strong demand has already been seen for stamps and packaging, as customers heed advice to post early to allow for Covid-related delays, uncertain weather conditions and large volumes of mail during the Christmas period.

The latest date for posting parcels and letters by standard service to the US, Canada, Asia, Australia and New Zealand is December 7th.

For European destinations, the latest date is December 12th for parcels and December 17th for cards.

Christmas Stamp Booklets and pre-paid gift packaging are available in all Post Offices nationwide and online at www.anpost.com/Christmas.

An Post’s Christmas booklet of 20 stamps is priced at €19, with a Christmas booklet of five international stamps priced at €8.50 and a booklet of five national stamps priced at €5.


In Ireland, people celebrate Christmas in much the same way as people in the UK and the USA, but they also have many of their own Christmas traditions and customs.

Christmas in Ireland traditionally begins on 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, with many putting up their decorations and Christmas trees on that day, and runs through until 6 January, or Little Christmas. The greeting for “Happy Christmas” in Irish is Nollaig Shona Duit [singular] or Nollaig Shona Daoibh [plural]. The literal translation of this is “Happy Christmas to you”.

There is an old tradition that in some Irish houses (although now not many), people put a tall, thick candle on the sill of the largest window after sunset on Christmas Eve. The candle is left to burn all night and represents a welcoming light for Mary and Joseph.

In Irish (or Gaelic) Christmas is Nollaig, Santa Claus is known as San Nioclás (Saint Nicholas) or Daidí na Nollag (Father Christmas). Children hope that Santa will visit on Christmas Eve and leave presents for them.

The day after Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day (known as Boxing Day in the UK and some other countries), is also very important in Ireland. Like in the UK, football matches and horse racing meetings are traditionally held on St. Stephen’s Day. One very old tradition is the Wren Boys Procession that takes place on St. Stephen’s Day. This goes back to ancient times when a real wren was killed and carried around in a holly bush. Some processions still take place, but no wren is hunted or used.

Young men and women dress up in home made costumes and go from house to house carrying a long pole with a holly bush tied to its top and singing a rhyme about a wren bird. Sometimes they are accompanied of violins, accordions, harmonicas and horns. The rhyme that is often used is:

‘The wren, the wren, the king of all birds
On St. Stephen’s day was caught in the furze.’

People also ask for money ‘for the starving wren’. The wren is one of the smallest birds in the UK and Ireland, but has a very loud song and is sometimes called the ‘king of all birds’. This is because of the legend of a little wren who rode on the top of an eagle’s head and boasted he had ‘flown higher than an eagle’. Wren’s were hunted for many years throughout Europe in medieval times. The Wren Boys Procession mostly died out in the early 20th century, although it still takes place in some towns including Dingle, in Country Kerry in the South West of Ireland.

The Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) was also celebrated in some towns in Ireland as Nollaig na mBean or Women’s Christmas. Traditionally the women got the day off and the men do the housework and cooking. The women met in each other’s homes to sew and chat. Although it’s mostly died out, some women still like to get together on the Sunday nearest Epiphany, to have tea and cakes, to gossip and to enjoy each other’s company.

Traditional, historic, Christmas food in Ireland include a round cake, full of caraway seeds. One is traditionally made for each person in the house. Now it’s more common to have a Christmas Cake like those in the UK, a rich fruit cake covered with marzipan and decorated with icing.

In addition to turkey for Christmas dinner, sometimes spiced beef (spiced over several days, cooked, and then pressed) is eaten. This can be served hot or cold. Dessert is commonly a Christmas Pudding.


Booklets:

First Day Cover:

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