World Stamps

Hindu festival of lights on Canada Post Oct. 15 issue

Oct 8, 2020, 11 AM

By Molly Goad

Canada Post celebrates the triumph of light over darkness on its new Diwali stamp. This nondenominated permanent-rate (currently 92¢) stamp was issued Oct. 15.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is a five-day festival that begins on the 15th day of Kartika in the Hindu calendar, which falls on Nov. 14 this year. Diwali is observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and other communities around the world.

Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word “dipavali,” which means “a row of lights; nocturnal illumination.” Hence, fireworks are a big part of the tradition, and diyas (oil lamps) are displayed throughout homes and temples.

Those who observe the holiday often create beautiful rangoli patterns using rice flour, beads, cereal, sand, powder or flower petals. The result is stunning geometric designs of dots, lines, flowers and other shapes laid on the ground or entranceways.

The tradition also includes sweet treats and the exchanging of gifts.

Designed by Gerald Querubin at Entro Communications, the stamp features a diya and a vibrant geometric background representing a traditional rangoli.

The booklet also thanks Dr. Harsha V. Dehejia (College of the Humanities) and Dr. Stephen Inglis (School for Studies in Art and Culture), Carleton University, "for their expertise."

At the time of this writing, the stamp’s specifications, accompanying products, and print quantities were not available. However, the images that accompany this article are scans of the actual stamp and booklet pane. These stamps were accidentally sent in early October to Canada Post’s new-issue customers with standing orders.

Canada Post issued its first Diwali stamps Sept. 21, 2017 (Scott 3023-3025), in a joint issue with India Post (2961-2962). The designs feature diya oil lamps, symbolic fireworks and geometric rangoli patterns.

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 400, Hewlett, NY 11557.

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