At ceremony was held at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Mich., the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) recently unveiled an Eid Greetings Forever stamp, recognizing the two most important festivals — or “eids” — of the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
In addition, a special Eid Greetings stamp ceremony was held last week at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky.
The USPS has issued stamps to commemorate these two Islamic holidays since 2001. As with the previous Eid releases, this most recent issue features the work of world-renowned calligrapher, Mohamed Zakariya of Arlington, Va., who worked with art director Ethel Kessler to create this design.
“As one of the nation’s oldest public service institutions, the Postal Service considers it a tremendous honor to celebrate the diversity of this great nation through our commemorative stamps,” said Detroit Postmaster Derron Bray, who dedicated the stamp.
“Ours is truly a world culture, and our stamps allow us to weave together the unique threads of our national tapestry,” Bray said. “The Eid Greetings stamp exemplifies the events and cultures that make America unique in the world of history.”
Bray was joined at the stamp dedication by Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; Sam Salamey, chief judge, Dearborn’s 19th District Court in Michigan; Albert Harp, retired educator and emeritus trustee, Islamic Center of America; Samie Rehman, manager, Revenue and Forecasting, Postal Service; Fouad Khalil, communication specialist, Information Technology, Postal Service; and Zena Elayan, student, Chamberlain College.
The ceremony also included performances by the Muslim American Youth Academy (MAYA) Students, Islamic Center of America; and the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 1139.
‘MAY YOUR EID BE BOUNTIFUL’
On Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslims wish each other Eidukum mubarak, the phrase shown in Islamic calligraphy on the stamp, evoking centuries of tradition. Eidukum mubarak translates literally as “May your Eid be bountiful (or blessed),” a phrase that can be applied to both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
The first day of the Muslim lunar month of Shawwal, Eid al-Fitr signifies “The Feast of Breaking the Fast.” This festival marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. As prescribed in the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, fasting during Ramadan begins from just before first light until sunset, when Muslims must abstain not only from food and drink, but also from evil thoughts, sexual activity, and smoking. Eid al-Fitr is observed by offering special alms with prayers, feasting, exchanging gifts and visiting family and friends.
Signifying “The Feast of the Sacrifice,” Eid al-Adha occurs approximately two months and 10 days after Eid al-Fitr. Eid al-Adha comes at the end of the hajj, the annual period of pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, and commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail. (This is the Muslim account of the story of Abraham and Isaac, which also is well known in Judeo Christian tradition.) Eid al-Adha is celebrated with prayers and social gatherings and traditionally includes the sacrifice of a lamb (or any other animal permitted for food in Islam) as an act of thanksgiving for Allah’s mercy. The sacrificial animal is distributed among family, friends and the poor.
In 2016, Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated July 6 in North America and Eid al-Adha will be celebrated Sept. 12. In 2017, Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated June 25 in North America and Eid al-Adha will be celebrated Sept. 1. These dates, which are based on geographical location and predicted sightings of the moon, are preliminary and may vary slightly as each festival approaches.
Another USPS release slated for mid-July is a new set of Forever stamps commemorating classic pickups.
The set will be officially unveiled July 15 at the 2016 Syracuse Nationals car show, which is being held at New York State fairgrounds. Four different trucks from the 1930s to ’60s will be included in the series: a 1938 International Harvester D-2; a 1948 Ford F-1; a 1953 Chevrolet; and a 1965 Ford F-100.