Colourful commemorative captures Diwali’s joyous spirit

Festival celebrates triumph of light over darkness, good over evil

A new commemorative stamp marking Diwali, a joyous five-day festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other communities worldwide, was issued today by Canada Post.

This year, Diwali falls on Nov. 14 with festivities continuing for five days. Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” which begins on the 15th day of Kartika in the Hindu calendar, Diwali is celebrated through the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. For many people, the annual observance is also a time to welcome happiness and good fortune.

Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word dīpāvali, meaning rows of lights, and refers to the popular practice of placing diyas (oil lamps) throughout homes and temples. Other traditions include decorating entranceways with colourful geometric rangoli patterns made with materials such as rice, sand, powder and flower petals, illuminating the sky with fireworks and exchanging gifts and sweet treats.

An official first-day cover is serviced with a Toronto cancel.

In Canada, people often light candles in their homes, and this illumination is believed to ward off evil and attract happiness and good fortune.

Designed by Gerald Querubin at Toronto’s Entro Communications, the stamp features a diya alongside a vibrant geometric background evocative of a traditional rangoli. The Permanent domestic-rate issue is available in 10-stamp booklets, 130,000 of which were printed by Toronto’s Colour Innovations using five-colour lithography. Each stamp measures 28 millimetres by 35 millimetres (vertical).

A total of 6,000 official first-day covers, each measuring 190 millimetres by 112 millimetres and affixed with a Diwali stamp, were serviced with a Toronto cancel.

STAMPS SHIPPED BEFORE ISSUE DATE

Earlier this week, several Canada Post customers reported receiving their pre-order for the Diwali stamp before the Oct. 15 issue date, creating the possibility for “early use” covers.

More details will be provided in the next print edition of CSN.

2017 DIWALI ISSUE

In 2017, Canada Post and India Post released a joint issue in celebration of Diwali.

It was Canada’s first Diwali stamp, as well as the first joint issue between the two postal services, and featured 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 Canada Post president and CEO, in 2017. “It is fitting that this historic first joint issue celebrates the strong relationship between Canada and India.”

Gerald Querubin, of Toronto’s Entro Communications, designed the 2020 Diwali stamp.

REMAINING 2020 ISSUES

Following today’s Diwali issue, Canada Post plans to release another four 2020-dated issues, including:

  • a single stamp featuring the “evocative” work by First World War artist Mary Riter Hamilton on Oct. 28;
  • a set of religious Christmas stamps showing Nativity scenes on Nov. 2;
  • secular holiday stamps featuring the work of folk artist Maud Lewis on Nov. 2; and
  • a Hanukkah stamp commemorating the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC on Nov. 5.

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