2022 EUROPA Competition

From 9 May till 9 September 2022 PostEurop is proud to present the most beautiful 2022 UROPA stamps entries for the theme “Stories & Myths”. Click on the stamp to enlarge image.

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ÅLAND - Åland Post Stamps
The stamp illustrates the ‘sjörå’ as known from Åland folklore. The motif is based on stories recorded in the 1890s in Åland. The sjörå is a female water nymph who rules the sea and the lakes. Her beauty only extends to the front; from behind, she is a hollow stump. The sjörå is closely related to the mermaid. The water nymph has her own pots and pans of glittering copper that she scrubs by the lake shore, and she keeps her own livestock. The sjörå keeps a pike as a pet; be careful if you catch a particularly large pike!
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ANDORRA FR - Philaposte Service Clients
Charlemagne was the king of the Franks, the Lombards and Emperor of the West, he established the bases of what will become the European medieval kingdoms. According to the legend, the Emperor Charlemagne continued the work of pushing the Saracens back to the Iberian Peninsula, which was started by his grandfather Charles Martel. Its passage through the Pyrenean lands was a response to the request for help made by the inhabitants of the valley of Valira, who had to flee before the arrival of the Arabs.
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ARMENIA - Haypost
The postage stamp depicts the Goddess Astghik. In Armenian mythology, Astghik (“little star”) was the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Water and the beloved of the God Vahagn (the God of Thunder, Lightning and War). According to the Armenian myths, Astghik, an extraordinary beauty, bathed every night in the Euphrates River. To admire the naked goddess, the young men lit big fires on Mount Daghonats of Taron region. Protecting herself from the eyes of others, every night Astghik covered the entire Taron Valley with fog.
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AUSTRIA - Österreichische Post AG
Legend has it that a water sprite known as the Wassermann once lived in a cave near Lake Leopoldstein in the vicinity of Eisenerz. One day the local people set a trap and caught him because they believed that he owned rich treasures. In exchange for his release, the captive promised them “gold that will last ten years, silver for a hundred years or iron for all eternity”. The people of Eisenerz chose the iron and iron has been mined in the Erzberg ever since. Nowadays this is done through open-pit mining, as evidenced by the characteristic layers on the mountain.
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AZERBAIJAN - State Enterprise "Azerpost"
The character of the Simurg bird is found in Azerbaijani fairy tales. He gives his feathers to the people he loves, to the innocent servants who need help, and instructs them to burn those feathers when they are in trouble and call on him for help. In Azerbaijani mythology, this great bird, which is considered a symbol of beauty, is a symbol of kindness, new life and revival.
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BELGIUM - bpost
The stamp tells the story of Saint Hubertus. He was a married courtier with a passion for hunting. Hubertus was not initially passionate about his faith. On the death of his wife he left the royal court and immersed himself in hunting. As legend holds, an encounter with a stag with a crucifix between its antlers turned Hubertus’ life toward God. He earned the title ‘the Apostle of the Ardennes’, and died in 727 AD in Belgium. He is known as the patron saint of hunters, dogs, and archers. His feast day is on the 3rd of November.
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Hrvatska pošta Mostar
The Slavic people worshiped various deities, and research has led to the fact that the god of thunder and lightning, Perun, is considered the supreme god of the Slavic pantheon. He rules the living world by dwelling in a fort on the highest branch of the tree of life. His wife is the goddess of fertility and protector of women, Mokosh. She is the mother of the wet Earth and the bright Sun. Perun is depicted as a rough red-haired man, symbolized by an eagle sitting on an oak branch watching the world.
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - Pošte Srpske a.d. Banja Luka
Bogeyman is a creature from the mythology of the South Slavs. Little children were afraid of her. Bogeyman is often confused with a witch, although they are different mythological creatures. In folklore, she is described exclusively as a terrifying female being in the form of a hunched, ugly, toothless old woman with a horrible face and a horn on her head (after whom she got her name). It hides in dark places and only goes out at night. According to folklore, Bogeyman scares and kidnaps naughty children and takes them to her lair...
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
The fairies are, in short, the ancient spirits of nature or the personification of its forces. According to Bosnian mythology, fairies are born from dew falling on the leaves of a large tree that grows on a mysterious, unknown hill. Legends say that they possess magical powers that they can use for good and bad purposes. Our ancestors believed that fairies lived in mountains and large forests, but also around lakes. In our mythology, the most famous are: Red Fairy: It mostly appears around sunset. Its symbol is red. Bosnian fairy: She is a girl with lily flowers in her hair. Its symbol is the lily flower. Queen of Golden Fairies: She is the mistress of all Bosnian fairies. Its symbol is the full moon. Mountain Fairy: It is among the oldest villas and is often called the mother of fairies. Its symbol is the golden apple. Planinka: She is a fairy who has a wreath of flowers entangled in her hair. Her symbol is a white goat.
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CROATIA - Croatian Post
The motif of the stamp(s) is the mythological Tree of the World – an ancient Croatian myth about the structure of the universe. The ancient god Perun is lord of lightning and time. He often appeared in the form of a great eagle or hawk. He was an ancient god to whom all the birds, the stars, the sky and all the air belonged. Perun’s brother Veles is the lord of the underworld and water. He rules the world of the dead, spirits and darkness, but also three kinds of treasure.
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CYPRUS - Department of Postal Services
Digenis Akritas was the most courageous of all the Akrites, who guarded the borders of Byzantium from the terrifying central Asian Saracens. “Petra tou Romiou” the giant stone that dominates the sea is associated with Digenis Akritas legend. Digeis Akritas, during the 7th – 10th Century repelled the Saracens who were preparing the plunder the area by grabbing onto the mountain range of Kyrenia by one hand as a result of which it took the shape and name Pentadactylos (five fingers), and with the other hand flung a huge rock (stone of Romios) into the sea against the Saracens who left fleeing.
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Czech Republic
The Czech stamp depicts two mythical figures of Czech history, Libuše and Přemysl. Libuše, one of the three daughters of the Czech ruler Krok, was a legendary Czech princess and wife of Přemysl the Ploughman. She became famous as a prophetess who foretold the glory of the city of Prague, founded by her. Princess Libuše married Přemysl the Ploughman and together established the oldest Czech ruling dynasty of the Přemyslids.
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DENMARK - PostNord Danmark
The subterraneans of Bornholm
There can hardly be another place in Denmark that has such a strong tradition of legends and tales related to the supernatural world as the island of Bornholm. The rocky landscape is said to be inhabited by the subterraneans, underground beings who have revealed themselves to the locals over the centuries.
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ESTONIA - Estonian Stamp
The stamps depict the painting design ‘Siuru-lindu Kalevipojast’
(‘The Siuru bird from Kalevipoeg’) by the artist Oskar Kallis. Kalevipoeg is a mythical hero in Estonian folklore, which contains many legends and stories about a mighty man named Kalevipoeg. The legends of Kalevipoeg, together with runic folk songs, were the subject for Friedrich Robert Faehlmann and Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald while preparing and writing the epic Kalevipoeg in the nineteenth century. Kalevipoeg is considered to be one of the most important works of Estonian literature, and its motifs have later been used by many artists, composers, and writers. The work also played an important role in the development of Estonian national self-awareness.
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Faroe Islands
FAROE - Postverk Føroya
A farmer kept a sow but had no boar. Despite this, the sow became pregnant and had piglets every year. One day the sow was seen running eastwards through Viðareiði and down towards a small bay. One of the women in the village got a hold of it and hastily tied a bundle of keys to its tail. The sow then ran into the sea and swam away. A moment later an island was seen drifting from the south. The villagers quickly manned a boat and rowed to the island. Since the sow had iron keys attached to its tail, it fastened to the seabed. Ever since the island has been called Svínoy (Pig Island).
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FINLAND - Posti Ltd.
Posti presents a goddess mentioned in Kalevala poems, among other works. On the shape-cut stamp, the goddess Kuutar (goddess of the moon) spin gold thread from the rays of the moon, from which gold clothes are woven. Illustrator Emmi-Riikka Vartiainen, who was chosen to design the stamps, is herself interested in mysticism. “This work involves a lot of my own illustration-related dreams, so realizing them felt exciting on a personal level. I went through the whole spectrum of emotions while searching for information about the characters and mental images emerging of them.”
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FRANCE - Philaposte Service Clients
Melusina is a legendary creature depicted as a mermaid, a reptile from the hips down, or a dragon. Coming from chivalrous stories and medieval tales, she becomes a river nymph, living in a water hole, a fairy nestled at the bottom of a cave, or even living in the hollow of a moor.
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GEORGIA - “Stamp of Georgia”
Medea is the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, a niece of Circe and the granddaughter of the sun god Helios. Colchis was an exonym for the Georgian polity of Egrisi located on the coast of the Black Sea, centered in present-day western Georgia. Medea figures in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, appearing in Hesiod's Theogony around 700 BC. Medea plays the archetypal role of helper-maiden, aiding Jason in his search for the Golden Fleece by using her magic to save his life out of love. Once he finished his quest, she abandons her native home of Colchis, and flees westwards with Jason, where they eventually settle in Corinth and got married.
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GERMANY - Deutsche Post AG
The dragon slayer fights against a three-headed dragon as a metaphor for
evil. He defends the community and he has the courage to face it alone. He
is the David against Goliath
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GIBRALTAR - Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau Ltd.
The Pillars of Hercules is the ancient name referring to the two promontories at the eastern entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, a narrow opening 14 kilometres wide between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean separating the continents of Africa and Europe. The northern pillar is the Rock of Gibraltar and the southern pillar, Mons Abila, on the African site of the strait is not know for certain, but the two most likely candidates are Monte Hacho in Ceuta and Jebel Musa in Morocco.
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GREECE - Hellenic Post Philatelic Service
Orpheus is a Thracian bard, legendary musician, poet and prophet in ancient greek religion. He travelled with Jason and the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece, and even descended into the Underworld of Hades to recover his lost wife Eurydice. Towards the end of his life, he disdained the worship of all gods except the sun, whom he called Apollo. One early morning he went to the oracle of Dionysus at Mount Pangaion to salute his god at dawn, but was ripped to shreds by Thracian Maenads for not honoring his previous patron (Dionysus) and was buried in Pieria.
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GUERNSEY - Guernsey Philatelic Bureau
Guernsey is an island steeped in folklore, it has a long and spell-binding association with witchcraft and many tales of sorcery have been passed down through the generations. Both black and white witches were said to practice in Guernsey, white witches using their craft solely for the benefit of other people, black witches were said to practice ritual witchcraft. Many of the old houses and cottages in the island have a strange piece of granite extruding from the chimney; these are known as “witches seats” and are a place for these night-time flyers to stop and rest (depicted on the 79p stamp).
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HUNGARY - Hungarian Post Office
The tale of the white horse is one of the myths and legends about how the land of Hungary was acquired dating from the time the Magyar tribes settled in the Carpathian Basin. This was passed down by oral tradition for centuries until it was recorded in writing. Several sources have survived about this story. The legend of the white horse was included by Anonymus in his historical work, but it is also mentioned in the Buda and Dubnica Chronicles. The most complete story is preserved in the Illuminated Chronicle, written at the end of the 13th century.
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IRELAND - Irish Stamps An Post
The stamp is based on Balor, a legendary Formorian known to cause great pain and anguish in the stories in The Mythological Cycle of Irish folklore tales. The story of Balor is an eye that when unleashed could cause instant death or poisoning, such as the Poisoned Glen in Co. Donegal, where Balor only looked on the landscape and caused damage. Contemporary colours are used to create the impression of poison, almost leaping off the stamp.
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JERSEY - Jersey Post
The Bride and Groom of Gorey
Today, Gorey Castle is one of Jersey’s most treasured landmarks. However, the castle has a dark history which includes sieges, violence and use as a prison. Many believe it is haunted and one story often told about the castle is that of the bride and groom of Gorey. It is said that a young man disobeyed his father by marrying the love of his life, a woman below his social status. The father, in a rage, murdered both while they slept. The couple haunt the castle to this day, eternally in love.
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LATVIA - Latvia Post Philatelic Department
The myth of feeding snakes attracting prosperity and higher yields
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LIECHTENSTEIN - Liechtensteinische Post AG
"The White Woman" (face value: CHF 1.80) is a figure that appears in numerous legends and myths in these parts. As a rule, she appears as a harmless being whom observers see by chance or notice by their having an uneasy feeling. On the stamp, the white woman floats through a field full of mulleins and slowly dissolves into thin air, just as she is said to have done, according to legend, when children encountered her. The mullein stands for fearlessness and protection from evil spirits.
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LITHUANIA - PLC Lithuania Post
Eglė the Queen of Serpents is a Lithuanian folk tale. Eglė the Queen of Serpents is one of the best-known Lithuanian fairy tales with many references to the Baltic mythology.
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According to the legend, Melusina was the wife of Count Siegfried I. In 963, he built his castle on the Bock promontory, above the Alzette, for his lovely wife, who had laid down two conditions before consenting to the marriage: she wished to be alone every Saturday at noon without being disturbed. Siegfried’s curiosity allegedly led him to observe his wife on a Saturday through the keyhole and discover that her legs were turning into a fishtail. His scream betrayed him and Melusina disappeared in the Alzette. Even today, it is said that she appears every seven years.
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MALTA - MaltaPost p.l.c.
As the legend narrates, Ulysses’ ship was hit by a violent storm, causing him to be the only survivor of his shipwreck. Calypso appeared from a cave and gave him food and shelter. Ulysses spent a good many years, “in heaven with a queen” as the legend goes, but others have speculated that he was her captive. But after 10 years, it was time to return home and he prayed to the gods to help him. After much persuasion Calypso reluctantly let him go, giving him, food, water, and sails for his boat.
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MOLDOVA - S.E. “Posta Moldovei”
The legend says that Dragoș Vodă, the Voivode of Maramureș, crossed the Carpathian Mountains at the valley of the Siret River to defend the population in the East, which was being raided by the Tartars.
An aurochs, a huge bison with sharp horns and a thick, powerful neck, crossed Dragoș' path. Disregarding the ferocity of the aurochs, Dragoș did not back down, but thrust his sharp spear deep into him. The wounded beast ran to a deep river, pursued by Molda, Dragoș' brave dog, who jumped into the river after him, but drowned in the rough water. As a sign of his triumph, Dragoș cut off the aurochs’ head, and named the river and the surrounding country - Moldova, in tribute to his brave dog.
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MONACO - Office des Emissions de Timbres-Poste
EUROPA stamps are among the most collected and popular stamps in the world. To illustrate this year’s theme, which focuses on myths and stories, the Stamp Office of Monaco chose to represent François Grimaldi, known as Malizia, who, on the night of 8 January 1297, dressed as a Franciscan monk, took over the fortress of Monaco from the Ghibelline, thereby installing the Grimaldi dynasty.
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MONTENEGRO - Philatelic Bureau
The legend of Bukumir Lake tells of an Illyrian tribe that inhabited the area of today's Kuči, near the city of Podgorica. he tribe opposed the evil dragon from the lake by setting fire to a pile of trees on a nearby rock. When the rock glowed with heat, they threw it into the lake, which boiled. A man on a white horse jumped out of the lake and cast a curse on Bukumiri to mutually exterminate themselves. The curse came true, and only stones remained around the lake, the so-called kiljans, in memory as a remembrance of Bukumiri.
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The Lady of Stavoren is a legend about how pride comes before a fall. The story is about a rich merchant's wife. In a fit of rage, she throws grain overboard in the harbour of Stavoren. When bystanders are outraged, the woman throws a precious ring into the waves and says she will only regret it when the sea returns her ring. And the sea does just that, as she finds the ring in the belly of a fish. From then on, things start to go downhill: the woman loses all her money, the harbour silts up and Stavoren’s prosperity becomes a thing of the past.
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NORWAY - Posten Norge AS
According to Norwegian folk tradition, a forest nymph is a supernatural, female being. She is often depicted with thick golden hair and a cow tail. Sometimes she is also portrayed with a hollow back. If you were taken into the mountains to the forest nymph, where there was plenty of food and drink and nice clothes, then you would stay there forever. Many men have met the forest nymph on a hike in the woods or mountains. Strikingly beautiful, with thick long hair and a seductive look. Just like Wictoria Nordgaard has designed her for the stamp.
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POLAND - Poczta Polska S.A.
Long time ago, when Polish lands were ruled by King Krak, a dragon appeared in Krakow and made its home in a cave under the Wawel Castle. It terrified the citizens and demanded cattle to be sacrificed to it once a week. Then, a poor shoemaker Skuba appeared at the Krak’s court offering its secret plan to defeat the dragon. He made a ram stuffed with sulphur and gave it the dragon which immediately devoured the morsel. But sulphur hidden in the animal made him extremely thirsty. He threw himself into the Vistula river and drank so much water that it simply burst!
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PORTUGAL - CTT Portugal Post - Philately Department
Faith - that's what helped Dom Fuas Roupinho to escape a tragic fate on a foggy morning, when he was hunting. He was focused on pursuing a deer, and he only realised he was on top of a cliff when the fall seemed inevitable. At the last moment, he cried out for Our Lady of Nazaré. iraculously, his horse stood on its hind legs (engraved there ever since) and the prey, which was the devil after all, vanished. he man was rescued by the intervention of Our Lady, whose image was hidden in a small cave nearby. Shortly after, he ordered the construction of a chapel at the top of the cliff, to place this image, which is still venerated in Nazaré.
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Republic of Serbia
SERBIA - Public Enterprise Post of Serbia
Drekavac (literally, the Shrieker) is a creature from the mythology of the South Slavs, especially represented in the mythology of the Serbs. The name of this creature comes from the verb drečati, which means to shriek or scream. Legends mention that it produces frightening cries that resemble those of children, howling wolves, bleating male goats, meowing cats or screeching birds. These cries, it is believed, can make a person deaf.
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The Aurochs head, taken as a trophy of a hunter by the voivode Dragos, the founder of Moldavia, was taken as the country's coat of arms and as an element of royal seals, used until the Union of Principalities in 1859 and later, reproduced as an image of the first Romanian stamp.
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San Marino
The stamps depict the donkey and the bear, main characters of the legend according to which Saint Marino domesticated the bear that killed his donkey. The illustrations are realized using small handcrafted rubber-stamps, hand built and carved, engraved in “crepla” rubber, provided of a cardboard handle, inked in three tints (yellow, red blue) with linographic colors. The shapes used to create the characters are the basic geometries of the circle, the triangle and the oval. The overlaps of the different rubber-stamped inked figures create games of shapes and colors, full and empty.
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Slovak Republic
SLOVAK - Slovenská pošta
A number of the motifs of traditional folk tales and legends have been preserved thanks to the efforts made by members of Ľudovít Štúr’s generation to collect folklore. The first to publish a selection of them was Ján Francisci-Rimavský in his book Slovenskje povesťi (Slovak Legends) in 1845. According to the notions of the Romantic collectors of the 19th century, folk legends and tales supposedly carried the features of a “national spirit”. Although Štúr’s adherents denied that the tales had any historical factual value, nevertheless, they projected onto them their belief in the future of the Slovak nation. And it was in particular through the victorious Lomidrevo (i.e. Wood breaker) that Francisci saw the “...idealised individuality of Slovakia”.
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SLOVENIA - Posta Slovenije d.o.o.
King Matjaž is a well-known figure in the literary folklore of Slovenia. The basis for many legends of King Matjaž is the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus (1458–1490), who distinguished himself in the defence against the Ottoman invaders and also ensured tolerable living conditions for Slovene peasants. Stories about King Matjaž do not have a basis in historical fact but have merely taken the king’s name. Similar stories are told in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Croatia.
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SPAIN - grupo Correos
In the southwest of Mallorca lies the legendary island of Sa Dragonera, a hideout for pirates and smugglers between the 14th and 16th centuries. It takes its name from its silhouette resembling that of a sleeping dragon, a legendary animal watching over the coast and the ships approaching it. According to the myth, there are many small “dragons” or guardians of the area, the Lilford lizards, an endemic species of the island which can be specially seen during the warmer months. The legend of the dragon speaks of this mythological animal and all kinds of reptiles protecting Mallorca from unwanted invaders.
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SWEDEN - PostNord Sweden
In Swedish folklore, Midsummer Eve abounds with magic, promises, hopes and all kinds of beings. Much of the enchantment of Midsummer Eve is provided by the flowers. Midsummer Eve is also believed to be an excellent time to get a glimpse of the future. A strong tradition was to go out just before bedtime to find seven types of flowers to put under our pillow and dream of our future partner. If you didn’t dream, you probably picked the flowers the wrong way. They should be picked with your left hand. Or possibly in seven different parishes while walking backwards …
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The story of a hero who had to shoot an apple placed on his child’s head is found in many different European collections of Stories and Myths. But it was here in Switzerland where it became a fundamental part of the legend of how the nation was founded. William Tell achieved fame far beyond national borders as the main character in Friedrich Schiller’s 1804 play of the same name. The dramatic scene with the pierced apple probably comes from Nordic legends in the early Middle Ages. Travelling monks are believed to have brought these stories to Switzerland.
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TURKEY - The Republic Of Turkey, Post and Telegraph Corporation
Köroglu is a just, brave, courageous, warmhearted, faithful hero and folk poet in the tradition of the Turkish folk tale.In the stamp image, Koroglu was expressed on a rampant gray horse spreading its wings in a desire to avenge his father (Ürüşan baba), who had unjustly lost his eyes at the behest of the local ruler. While the 'ram's horn' motif symbolizes the heroism of Köroglu, the ‘eye motif’ on the evil eye bead reminds of Köroglu's father, who lost his eye due to horse selection. These motifs, which are embroidered into weavings and beads, also reflect Anatolian Aesthetics
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Vatican City
VATICAN - Ufficio Filatelico e Numismatico - Governatorato
The Pope entrusted architect Domenico Fontana with the task of removing the obelisk from its original location and placing it in St. Peter’s Square and then raising it on a pedestal. It took 900 men and 140 horses to complete the work. In order to further facilitate the erection of the 327-ton monolith, the Pope issued an edict forbidding anyone to speak or enter the construction area. Violators would be punished with death. Everything went well until, on 10 September 1586, right at the end of the operation, a Ligurian sailor, Bresca da San Remo, realised that the ropes holding up the obelisk were about to break due to excessive tension and shouted, heedless of the papal warning: "Water to the ropes". He knew that hemp becomes shorter and more elastic when wet. The architect immediately took up the suggestion and successfully completed the work. The sailor was pardoned by the Pope, who not only honoured him with the title of captain of the first pontifical line regiment, but also granted his family the privilege of supplying the Vatican with the branches used for Palm Sunday.
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