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The Banishing of Winter

Catalogue Number:  145
Stamp Design:  Katarína ©evellová
Stamp Engraving:  Rudolf Cigánik
Date of Issue:  March 3, 1998
Printing:  Postal Stationery Printing House, Prague
Print Technology:  Rotary-recess printing combined with recess printing
Print Run:  2,340,000
FDC Design:  Katarína ©evellová
FDC Engraving:  Rudolf Cigánik
Cancellation Design:  Katarína ©evellová
FDC Printing:  Postal Stationery Printing House, Prague
FDC Print Technology:  Recess printing from flat plates
FDC Print Run:  10,000

Springtime is a period rich in events of traditional Slovak folk ceremony. In particular, the Sundays leading up to Easter - Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday - are associated with the banishing of winter from the community. Winter is here symbolised by a straw figure dressed in female clothing and known as Morena, Marmuriena, Marjena, Kyselica or Smr» (Death). In the past, the young - sometimes only the girls - would parade it, singing the while, around the village, before finally throwing it into water or burning it.

This custom was practised not only all over Slovakia, but among Slavs generally, and is probably the only ancient ritual which can be said with virtual certainty to have survived from before the Christian period. It is probably in the nature of an announcement to winter and to the spring waters of those who have perished.

The costumes on the stamp are loosely based on those from Liptov. The female costume on the FDC is inspired by the apparel and embroidery of the former county of Nitra, while the male figure wears a stylised Slovak costume.

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Year 1998
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