Festive stamps depicting two popular Christmas carols are to be issued by Guernsey Post on 8 November.
Illustrated by artist Keith Robinson, the Christmas stamps for Guernsey and Alderney tell the stories behind the carols Good King Wenceslas (Guernsey) and The Holly & the Ivy (Alderney) and feature some of the lyrics.
Based on the legend of Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia from 921, The Reverend Doctor Neale, in collaboration with Thomas Helmore, wrote the lyrics to Good King Wenceslas, which contain a message about being charitable at Christmas.
Good King Wenceslas tells the story of a Bohemian king who is known for his acts of kindness and who braves the harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen on 26 December. During the journey, his servant is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but finds the strength to continue by following the King’s footprints.
The well-known melody and lyrics for The Holly and the Ivy were first published in 1911, in a collection of English carols by Cecil Sharp.
Throughout the carol there are references to Christian symbolism including the redness of the holly’s berry, which may represent Christ’s blood, and holly’s ‘thorny prickle’, which is thought to allude to the crown of thorns worn by Christ.
Bridget Yabsley, head of philatelic at Guernsey Post said: – “These beautiful stamps remind us that Christmas carols have been part of our festive tradition since the Middle Ages. It’s wonderful to see two much loved carols featured on our Guernsey and Alderney stamps this year, as the tradition of carol singing remains ever popular.”