Erik Nitsche: Christmas -- Holly Boughs
Artist: Erik Nitsche
Whether he's called Santa Claus or St. Nick, the jolly white-whiskered elf -- dressed in red and bearing presents -- has long been part of Christmas festivities -- including the Toronto Santa Claus Parade honored on Canada's 1985 Christmas stamps. The real St. Nicholas was a fourth century Catholic bishop whose life was devoted to secret works of charity. The Christmas tradition of gift-giving in secrecy sprang from the famous legend concerning his gift of three bags of gold as dowries for three daughters of a poor but devote parishioner. St. Nicholas is considered the patron saint of children, sailors, pawnbrokers and, of course, marriageable maidens. Throughout medieval Europe, tales of St. Nicholas's clandestine generosity sparked Christians of every nation to begin the practice of gift-giving in his honor on December 6, his Feast Day. Long before St. Nicholas became associated with Christmas, the ancient pagan festival of Saturnalia, which subsequently honored Julius Caesar, was mingled with the observance of Christ's birth. Through the years, Holly has embodied the spirit of renewal at Christmas.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Canada 34¢ Christmas stamp issued October 23, 1985.
Artwork Copyright © 1985 Unicover Corporation. All Rights Reserved under United States and international copyright laws. You may not reproduce, distribute, transmit, or otherwise exploit the Artwork in any way. Images of the Artwork may be watermarked and/or digitally watermarked. Any sale of the physical original does not include or convey the Copyright or any right comprised in the copyright.
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