Christmas Stamps -Croatia 2021

Glass baubles are the most popular decorations to hang on the green branches of a Christmas tree. It is believed that Martin Luther was the first to light candles on a Christmas tree in 1536, wanting to bring the celestial twinkling of stars to his home. Although the origin of decorating trees is much deeper, with an abundance of symbolic meanings from pagan to early Christian times, the mannerist sixteenth century certainly contributed significantly to the interrelationship of objects and symbols, signs and meanings, on a micro and macro scale. An abundance of ornaments of various shapes and materials has been recorded in the history of decorating Christmas trees, but a beautiful story, just like the one about Luther, accounts for the appearance of glass baubles that will become an essential symbol of the Christmas holidays. Legend has it that in the early nineteenth century, an unemployed glassblower in the German town of Lauscha, known for producing glass beads, did not have money to buy apples, walnuts and other sweets to hang on the branches, so he blew glass bubbles for his children – which have remained the symbol of Christmas decorations ever since. Many additional symbolic interpretations are given to these shiny baubles. They are a permanent and stylized substitute for apples, representing a gift of nature, but also the forbidden fruit of the earthly paradise. But above all, they represent the brilliance itself, a reminder of Luther’s reach for the stars, a tool of flicker and twinkle that at least once a year nurtures the better part of our being – the child within.

Date of issue 22 Nov 2021.