Yesterday, Canada Post issued an Eid stamp in recognition of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, two important festivals celebrated by Muslims in Canada and around the world.
The stamp was simultaneously unveiled at events with members of the Muslim communities in Montréal, Que. and Richmond Hill, Ont. Together, Montréal and the Greater Toronto Area are home to more than half of Canada’s Muslim population, which is estimated at more than one million people.
The issue is being released a month ahead of Eid al-Fitr, which takes place around June 26, while Eid al-Adha will be celebrated around Sept. 2.
The Eid stamp is one of three stamps being issued by Canada Post this year to honour multicultural celebrations; both Diwali and Hanukkah will also be featured on stamps later this year.
According to Canada Post’s latest issue of Details, these stamps are “special commemoratives.”
“While only a limited number of them are to be printed, Canada Post reserves the right to print more. In such a case, collectors will be informed of the change in the press run.”
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, which is the month in which Muslims fast from dawn until dusk. Also known as “The Festival of the Breaking of the Fast,” it falls on the first day of the 10th month of the Islamic calendar, Shawwal (this year, it’s around June 26 in Canada). On the day of Eid, many Muslims congregate in mosques as well as open spaces to perform a ritual prayer and celebrate with family and friends.
With Eid al-Adha—or “The Festival of Sacrifice”—Muslims commemorate Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. The festival also marks the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is considered the holiest site in Islam. It falls on the 10th day of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, Dhul Hijjah (around Sept. 2, 2017, depending on when the new moon is seen).
Like Eid al-Fitr, this celebration can include special ritual prayers, lavish meals, and visits with friends and family. It also includes gift giving and acts of charity.
The Arabic script on the recently issued Eid stamp reads “Eid Mubarak,” which translates to “Have a happy Eid” or “Have a blessed Eid.” It appears under a pointed arch, which symbolizes the division between sacred and worldly space in Muslim culture. The stamp’s deep blues and warm gold and yellows, as well as its geometric pattern, are seen in Islamic architecture. The new moon atop the stamp signifies the beginning of Eid.
Designed by Doreen Colonello and Erin Enns, of Entro Communications, and printed by Colour Innovations, this Permanent domestic-rate stamp measures 28 mm by 35 mm, is printed in six-colour lithography plus a varnish, and is available in booklets of 10. The official first-day cover was cancelled in Toronto. A collectible framed enlargement is also available.
CANADIAN DIVERSITY: A HISTORY OF STAMPS COMMEMORATING MAJOR RELIGIONS’ HOLY DAYS
Canada Post has issued annual Christmas stamps since 1964. In recent years, one Christmas stamp has depicted a sacred image reflecting the Christian faith, and another reflects a secular holiday theme.
Earlier this year, Canada Post and India Post agreed on a historic joint stamp issue featuring two stamps marking Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. One stamp from each country will be released on the same day this fall.
Canada Post also previously announced it will issue a Hanukkah stamp this year in recognition of the Jewish faith’s eight-day celebration in December, which commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the second century B.C.E.
Together, the Eid, Diwali and Hanukkah stamps build on the tradition of Canada’s Christmas stamps and depict the country’s pride for “being a land of diverse faiths, customs and celebrations.”