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Swastika Christmas card with harmless message

A CHRISTMAS card bearing an image of a Swastika may seem like a sick joke today, but for the sender in the early 1900s, it was innocently meant.

The 3,000-year-old symbol, which was hijacked by the Nazis in World War II, had been used across world cultures, particularly among native Americans, to represent life, sun, power, strength and good luck.

For the receiver of this Christmas postcard in Co Donegal at the turn of the last century, the message was a positive one.

"Once again this festive season/Bids us greet our friends anew/With the Wish that this glad Christmas/May hold happiness for you," it declared.

The card, which was among a collection of cards from Christmases past donated by a member of the public to Donegal County Museum, are now on display over the festive period.

"It is a nice piece of nostalgia. They all date around the early 1900s. They are beautifully designed and have nice verses," said assistant curator, Caroline Carr, yesterday.

A card with an image of Doe Castle in Donegal was posted from Magherafelt at 8am on Christmas Day and appeared to arrive later that evening.

Among the prize seasonal collections in the museum is a tiny Christmas card, scarcely bigger than a credit card, which was sent to a woman in east Donegal over 100 years ago.

The rare find was accidentally discovered in an envelope containing newspaper cuttings, which was handed into the county library by a member of the public.

"It could easily have been missed because it is so small. It is pretty rare. The senders from Laghey in South Donegal would have had to go to the printers themselves to get the card printed," she said.

The perfectly preserved artifact also includes the envelope bearing a postmark of December 24 and a Penny Red stamp.

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