Christmas Stamps 2022: Andorra

On November 7, LaPoste of France and Correos of Spain each issued a single stamp marking Christmas 2022 for the Principality of Andorra. Both postal administrations issue their own postage stamps for use in Andorra featuring unique designs, as those of Spain and France are not valid. Andorra a sovereign landlocked microstate on the Iberian Peninsula, in the eastern Pyrenees, bordered by France to the north and Spain to the south. Believed to have been created by Charlemagne, Andorra was ruled by the count of Urgell until 988, when it was transferred to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Urgell. The present principality was formed by a charter in 1278. It is headed by two co-princes: the bishop of Urgell in Catalonia, Spain and the president of France. Its capital and largest city is Andorra la Vella.

Andorra is the sixth-smallest state in Europe, with an area of 468 square kilometers (181 square miles) and a population of approximately 79,034. The Andorran people are a Romance ethnic group of originally Catalan descent. Andorra is the world’s 16th-smallest country by land and 11th-smallest by population. Its capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital city in Europe, at an elevation of 1,023 meters (3,356 feet) above sea level. The official language is Catalan, but Spanish, Portuguese, and French are also commonly spoken.

Tourism in Andorra brings an estimated 10.2 million visitors to the country annually. Andorra is not a member state of the European Union. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1993.

The French postal administration’s stamp for Andorra features the Angel Baldaqui de Sant Bartomeu. According to LaPoste,

On November 10, 1606, Bartomeu Moles commissioned the liturgical furniture of the chapel of Sant Bartomeu in Sant Julià de Lòria. In addition to the altarpiece, he also commissioned a canopy whose painting is considered the work of the craftsman Mestre Çanou. This piece, unique in the context of modern painting of the Catalan territories, shows a blessing of the Child Jesus in an archaic almond tree on a starry sky. Around him, four angels celebrate his glory by sounding two trumpets, and resounding a lute and a guitar. Following the Angel on the guitar illustrating the stamp of 2021, the Angel with the Trumpet, painted in the left part of the canopy illustrates the stamp of 2022 in a naïve pictorial style, with a simplified anatomy and a saturated chromaticism, this work arouses a singular sympathy.

The stamp was designed by Àlex Tena with the layout by Stéphanie Ghinéa, It was printed by Phil@poste using offset lithography. Measuring 26 x 40 mm, 750,000 copies of the stamp were printed in sheets of 15 with a denomination of €1.43, the postage rate for a priority letter (D+1) up to 20g to French destinations.

The Spanish Christmas 2022 issue for Andorra has a design showing shooting stars. It, too, was released on November 7. According to Correos,

The Christmas lights that are located throughout the country, have ended up being a territorial reference, and there are many people who take advantage of these dates, to come to Andorra to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere, which is breathed thanks to the Christmas lights and the Christmas Village that is located in the Plaça del poble d’Andorra la Vella.

The lights are turned on November 26 and they are on until candlestick, on February two.

Before Christmas was Christmas, the lights were already there. There is no data that gives the birth of Jesus at the beginning of winter, only in the year 354 Pope Liberius declared the birth on December 25. The pontiff’s goal was for the feast to coincide with the Saturnalia, the most important celebration of the Roman calendar. The Saturnalia, in turn, coincided with the winter solstice, the time of the year when the days are shortest in the Western Hemisphere and that all cultures commemorate in one way or another. These three celebrations are united because in their rituals lights are turned on.

In reality, the obsession with light at this time of year predates ancient Rome and is lost in the mists of time, in the first religions, in the cult of the sun, which during the solstices resurfaced since its apparent defeat. The further north, the shorter the days became, the weaker the sun seemed and the more important artificial lighting became.

The stamp is a drawing made by the artist Itziar Badenas where the lights appear, the stars everything that transports us to be children again to live Christmas.

The stamp has a denomination of €0.75 and was printed by Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre using offset lithography in sheets of 25 with a total print run of 50,000. It measures 29 x 41 mm and is perforated 13¼ x 13¾. It pays the postage rate for a “standardized” Ordinary National Postcard or Letter, up to 20 grams.

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