Monday, April 07, 2008

Frog on a Swedish mini sheet

(First of all, the correct answer to my question raised last week on Canadian stamps has been found by Kalpana (see comment on last post). She will receive a surprise soon from me.)

Since 2004, the eight postal administrations of Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Aland and Finland have started a common stamp issue related to Nordic mythology, called Top of the World of Stamps.. This joint issue is divided in three parts, each time it takes the form of a souvenir sheet. These sheets have been issued in 2004, 2006 and 2008. If you are interested to get more information on this joint issue, there is a website dedicated to it at third and last part of this joint issue is related to Mythical sites. The Swedish post has issued, on the 27th of March, the following mini sheet called “Journey to Blåkulla”.

You probably understood why I’m interested in this souvenir sheet : it pictures a frog on the border ! Thank you Eric to have drawn my attention to this, I hadn’t noticed the frog before !
Blåkulla (which means Blue Mountains) is a mythical place were witches were supposed to hold a Sabbath at Easter, with the Devil playing a central role. During this Sabbath, everything was done backwards as a sign a blasphemy : for example witches rode backwards on farm animals, as shown on one of the stamps. The Devil is also shown on the sheet as a large bat. The frog, which is more probably a toad is also very often linked to witches.
The idea of Blåkulla itself goes back to the time when in Europe a witch-hunting hysteria was culminating : in the 16th and 17th century. At this period, many women were accused of witchery and were put to death.
The real location of Blåkulla is not known. It is sometimes associated to ‘Blå Jungfrun’ (The Blue Virgin) an island that was also originally called Blåkulla, but the name was too dangerous to say it out loud ! The island of Blå Jungfrun continues to provoke superstition. Some believe that bad luck will befall anyone who takes stones from the island !

A rather frightening stamp issue, isn’t it ?

1 comment:

chickenstampy6669 said...

Hello Eric,
Great to read your blog so now and then. Like specific the way you decribe the items you publish on your blog. Very nice and good information about the covers/stamps and more.