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Incense-scented postage stamps for Easter launched
SPAIN'S post office has launched limited-edition stamps smelling of incense for Easter.
This year, postage stamps pay tribute to Easter parades in the towns and cities of Cuenca, Tobarra, Sevilla and Lorca, in Murcia – the latter two featuring some of the most famous festivals in the country over this time of year.
Sevilla's streets are lined four-deep when the Good Friday parades start since, even though these take place in all towns and even villages in Spain, the southern city's version has long been hailed as the best.
But Lorca is not far behind, given that its Easter parades have been granted International Tourism Interest status.
And stamps issued by the post office (Correos) featuring Lorca's processions, complete with pictures of horses and carts, are the ones which have been impregnated with the scent of incense.
This has a biblical significance – the gifts given to Baby Jesus by the Three Wise Men were said to represent his life to come: gold, because he was King; frankincense, a sign of his role as priest, and myrrh, an embalming ointment showing he would die young.
The incense aroma on Lorca's stamps is supposed to represent Jesus' having been crucified for his priestly practices.
This said, researchers from the University of Cardiff, in Wales, believe the Wise Men from the East may have given Jesus frankincense as a future arthritis relief.
They found frankincense to contain an active ingredient which stops the inflammation which destroys cartilage and triggers pain, which backs previous studies showing how frankincense was used as an arthritis remedy in north Africa and the Middle East many centuries ago.
To this end, theological scholars believe the author of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, in which Jesus' birth is described, would have known about the healing properties of this incense.
Others claim frankincense was used to anoint newborns, meaning the three gifts could have signified Jesus' birth, his becoming King, and his death.
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