World Stamps

Denise McCarty

First Canada-India joint issue celebrates Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights

September 22, 2017 04:30 PM

  • The first joint issue between Canada and India celebrates Diwali. The designs, shown here on the two stamps from Canada, depict traditional diya oil lamps.
  • The Diwali souvenir sheet from India contains both the 5-rupee and 25r stamps.
  • Canada issued a Diwali souvenir sheet that contains one stamp from Canada and one from India.

By Denise McCarty

Canada Post and India Post are honoring Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, on joint-issue stamps issued Sept. 21.

It is the first joint issue between the two postal administrations.

At the unveiling ceremony held Sept. 21 at the Toronto City Hill, Canada Post president and CEO Deepak Chopra said: “The Diwali stamps express our pride in Canada being a land of diverse faiths, customs and celebrations. It is fitting that this historic first joint issue celebrates the strong relationship between Canada and India.”

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The five-day Diwali festival celebrates the triumph of light over darkness. It begins on the 15th day of Kartika in the Hindu calendar, which falls on Oct. 19 this year.

The joint-issue includes two basic designs: one from Canada Post created by Doreen Colonello of Entro Communications, a design firm with offices in Canada and Switzerland; and the other from India Post created by Alka Sharma.

Both designs feature traditional diya oil lamps in the foreground with symbolic fireworks and geometric rangoli patterns in the background.

The Society for the Confluence of Festival of India said: “Deepavali [Diwali] the literal meaning of which in Sanskrit is ‘a row of lamps.’ Filling little clay lamps with oil and wick and lighting them in rows all over the house is a tradition that is popular in most regions of the country.”

The design created for Canada Post shows a lamp on a red background, while the one from India Post has a gold background.

Both designs are featured on permanent stamps from Canada paying the domestic rate (currently 85¢). These self-adhesive stamps were issued in a single booklet of 10 (five of each design).

The stamps from India are denominated 5 rupees (red background) and 25r (gold background). A souvenir sheet contains the two stamps with the designs se-tenant (side-by-side).

A souvenir sheet from Canada Post unites stamps of the two countries. It includes a $2.50 international-rate Canadian stamp with the red-background design, and the 25r stamp from India.

Canadian printer Lowe-Martin printed the souvenir sheet and the booklet stamps by offset, using five colors plus varnish. The booklet stamps are 30 millimeters by 36mm, and the souvenir sheet is 75mm by 100mm.

The quantities printed were 300,000 booklet stamps (Canada Post order no. 414063111), and 75,000 souvenir sheets (404063145).

Canada Post also produced 12,000 first-day covers for the booklet stamps (414063131), and 8,000 FDCs for the souvenir sheet (342159). Both are canceled in Toronto.

The Security Printing Press in Hyderabad printed India’s stamps and souvenir sheet by offset.

For information on India Post’s online shop, visit the website.

Canada Post also is selling India’s souvenir sheet (342168).

Canada Post products are available online and by mail order from Canada Post Customer Service, Box 90022, 2701 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 1J8 Canada; or by telephone from the United States or Canada at 800-565-4362, and from other countries at 902-863-6550.

Canada’s stamps and stamp products also are available from many new-issue stamp dealers, and from Canada Post’s agent in the United States: Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557.