Canadian Postage Stamps
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Date of Issue

November 1, 1972




Postal Administration




Series Time Span


Perforation or Dimension

12.5 x 12


Ashton-Potter Limited.


Designed and photographed by Ray Webber.

About Stamp

Joy in all its simplicity and serenity is symbolized by the candles reproduced on the postage stamp issued for Christmas, feast of joy and peace, by the Canada Post Office. The use of candle is very old. It was known to the Egyptians who reproduced it graphically on the tombs of their ancestors, long before Christianity. Until the Middle ages, when there appeared candle-maker guilds, especially in France and England, candles were home-made, from animal grease or beeswax. First used for lighting purposes, the candles later took on a symbolic value in different religious cults. They were soon used in conjunction with candlesticks whose member branches had a specific meaning; let us mention only the great seven branch candlestick made of gold that Moses had placed in the Tabernacle. Even though they are sometimes used to express gratitude, sadness or prayer, candles most often are symbols of joy. Their visible light represents the inner light referred to by the psalmist when he said "Thy work is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path". (Ps. 119: 105). The pure bright flame of the candles reproduced on the Christmas stamps can bring serenity and hope to anyone who has joy in his soul. The number of candles on each of the four stamps can be interpreted in various ways. Among other things, the design of the 6¢ and 8¢ stamps could symbolize Man at the centre of the earth and the four cardinal points; the six candles on the 10¢ stamp could represent constellations. As for the 15¢ stamp, the candles could stand for the planets, or the universe and the days of creation, or the seven defenders of Christianity: Saint George of England, Saint Denis of France, Saint Andrew of Scotland, Saint David of Wales, Saint Patrick of Ireland, Saint James of Spain and Saint Anthony of Italy. The objects appearing with the candles on the stamps with higher values emphasize the simplicity of the illustration. They are presented with no artifice or extras as if to better reveal themselves and to give the imagination full freedom to interpret its symbol and find parallels. Some may thus decide that the two boxes, and brass vase represent the gifts of the Wise Men to the Child, that the porcelain containers suggest purity by their whiteness or that the pine boughs symbolize life and spring. Let us also mention the French prayer-book with illuminated designs. Graciously loaned by the Royal Ontario Museum, this 15th century book is open at the page of the announcement to the shepherds. The photographs for these stamps are the creation of Ray Webber, of Toronto.


Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1972.

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