For the third time in five years, Canada Post has issued a stamp to mark Islam’s most important holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Issued today, this latest Eid-themed stamp comes several weeks before the religious celebrations are set to begin. Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, which begin on May 12 and July 19, respectively, are celebrated around the world, including in Canada, where more than one million Muslims make up about three per cent of the population.
Before COVID-19, Eid al-Adha (or the Festival of Sacrifice) typically began with a prayer followed by a four-day festival commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. Its dates coincide with the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest site in Islam.
Last year, Saudi Arabia denied all outsiders entry to Hajj due to the ongoing pandemic; however, this year, pilgrims can travel to the country if they have both doses of a COVID-19 vaccination before leaving.
In Canada, most of the provincial restrictions were rolled back as COVID-19 cases declined over the summer, during Eid al-Adha on July 31-Aug. 2. Across the country, mosques, student associations and other groups held virtual and physically distanced prayers and other events.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the month in which Muslims fast from dawn until dusk. Typically, mosques would host thousands of people for a celebration; however, many of last year’s in-person events were moved to a virtual format.
2021 EID STAMP
Lionel Gadoury, Andrew Conlon and Brad Pyne, of Context Creative, designed this year’s Eid set, which includes a 10-stamp booklet plus an official first-day cover (OFDC) measuring 190 millimetres by 112 millimetres.
Ottawa’s Lowe-Martin printed 120,000 booklets (1.2 million stamps in total) plus 7,000 OFDCs, each franked with an Eid stamp and serviced with a Montréal cancel.
The 28-millimetre-by-38-millimetre Permanent stamp features an evening Eid scene, centring on a crescent moon framed by an arched window. Nine five-pointed stars also appear in the sky alongside the moon.
“A highly recognizable symbol of Islam, it also alludes to the fact that both festivals commence with the sighting of a new moon,” according to a statement from Canada Post about the crescent moon’s meaning.
“Another striking feature of the stamp design is that the view of the night sky is shown through a window, the shape of which was inspired by arches often used in mosque architecture. An overlaid pattern of hexagrams creates an intricately latticed screen – or jali – another form of decoration common in Islamic architecture.”
NEXT 2021 STAMPS
Following the April 22 Eid issue, Canada Post will release its long-awaited “Canadian Ballet Legends” set – postponed since last year due to COVID-19 – on April 29.
The next issue of CSN (Vol. 46 #3) will feature the ballet set.
With no new issues planned for May, Canada Post will then release a commemorative envelope celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada on June 7 and a stamp marking the Bluenose centennial on June 29.