Canada Post issues third Diwali stamp

By Jesse Robitaille

A bright red rangoli design graces a new commemorative stamp marking Diwali, the five-day “Festival of Lights.”

Issued on Oct. 19, the stamp comes out about two weeks before this year’s Diwali celebrations begin. The Canada Diwali website managed by the Indo-Canada Arts Council (ICAC) explains the festival symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.” It’s celebrated worldwide – by Sikhs, Punjabis, Gujaratis, Jains, Buddhists, Tamils, Nepalis, Sri Lankans and East Indians – to mark the homecoming of Lord Rama after his jubilant victory over demons.

Seung Jai Paek designed the stamp, whose central rangoli pattern is one of the most universally recognized symbols of Diwali.

During the festival, these intricate geometric patterns are drawn on the floors of homes – using a variety of colourful media such as powdered rice, sand and chalk powder – to welcome guests, ward off evil and bring good fortune to those who live there.

During the celebrations, small clay oil lamps (called diyas) are also lit in rows in homes and temples or set adrift on rivers. There are also firework displays showing gratitude for health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity.

This year’s issue (shown) is Canada Post’s third Diwali stamp since 2017. The first release was a joint issue with India Post.

The stamp is available in 10-stamp booklets with a print run of 80,000 booklets (eight million stamps) and on an official first-day cover, 4,500 of which were printed. The covers are serviced with a cancel from Vancouver, B.C.

The covers’ pictorial cancel is a line drawing of one of the elements in the rangoli pattern featured on the stamp.

Canada Post issued its first Diwali stamp – a joint issue with India – in 2017. Also the first joint issue between the two postal services, it included four stamps, two from each country.

“The Diwali stamps express our pride in Canada being a land of diverse faiths, customs and celebrations,” said Deepak Chopra, then the president and CEO of Canada Post, in 2017. “It is fitting that this historic first joint issue celebrates the strong relationship between Canada and India.”

Canada Post issued its second Diwali stamp last October.

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