TORONTO – Canada Post and India Post are joining hands to issue stamps that celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, an important annual observance for many Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains in Canada and around the world. The joint stamp issue is a historic first between these postal services and reflects our country’s diversity in the year of Canada 150.
The stamps were unveiled today at Toronto City Hall by Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra; His Excellency, Mr. Vikas Swarup, the High Commissioner of India to Canada; and His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto.
“The Diwali stamps express our pride in Canada being a land of diverse faiths, customs and celebrations,” says Mr. Deepak Chopra. “It is fitting that this historic first joint issue celebrates the strong relationship between Canada and India.”
About a month ahead of Diwali celebrations, which will be held from October 19 to 23, two domestic-rate stamps are available in Canada. A stamp with a red background is the Canadian design, while one with a gold background was designed by India Post. The souvenir sheet has a Canadian international rate stamp and an Indian stamp.
Diwali, a five-day celebration, begins on the 15th day of Kartika in the Hindu calendar. Its main theme is the triumph of light over darkness. The celebration traditionally includes fireworks. In Canada, people often light candles in their homes, while in India, they light small clay lamps filled with oil; illumination is believed to ward off evil and attract happiness and good fortune. Believers also display colourful geometric rangoli patterns to decorate entrances. Families and friends also share sweets and gifts with one another and with those in need.
About the stamp
Designed by Gerald Querubin of Entro Communications and India Post, and printed by Lowe-Martin, the Permanent domestic-rate stamps measure 30 mm by 35 mm. They are printed in five colours plus a varnish, and are available in booklets of 10. The Official First Day Cover is cancelled in Toronto, ON.
Background: Stamps for other major religious celebrations
The Diwali stamps are among several that reflect Canada’s religious diversity 150 years after Confederation. They include our annual Christmas stamps with a Christian image and another with a secular holiday theme. In May, our Eid stamp recognized Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, two important festivals for Canada’s more than one million Muslims and those worldwide. A Hanukkah stamp will recognize the Jewish faith’s eight-day celebration in December.
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