Sunday, October 8, 2017

Canada-India Joint Issue: Diwali

India Post and Canada Post had been planning on issuing their first ever joint stamps at least since November 2016. India Post's stamp program for 2017 actually listed joint issue with Canada in two themes, but I'm not sure what was the plan for the second theme. Top officials from India Post and Canada Post met in Toronto in February 2017 to put an agreement in place to design and release stamps in September 2017 to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights, Diwali. These stamps were subsequently designed and issued on 21st September. Canada Post had remained silent on the issuance date and designs for these stamps until the day of issue, but the Indian Government had announced the release in the last week of August. The federal government's Cabinet was informed of the joint issue with Canada on 30th August 2017.

Two stamp designs were used by both postal administrations to depict the Diwali festival. Gerald Querubin of Entro Communications designed the Canadian version and Alka Sharma created the art work for the Indian side. Both countries used the same stamp designs and the issuance date for the joint issue. Canada post issued the two stamps as 'Permanent' rate in a booklet of 10 stamps whereas India Post issued one stamps in Rupees 5 and the other one in Rupees 25 denomination. India Post also issued a souvenir sheet that has both the Rupees 5 and 25 stamps. Canada Post issued a Siamese twin souvenir sheet, which contains the Canadian stamp in C$2.50 and the Indian stamp in Rupees 25 denomination. Lowe Martin printed the Canadian stamp booklet and the joint souvenir sheet whereas Security Printing Press, Hyderabad printed the Indian stamps and souvenir sheet.

The stamps were issued on 21st September, in two ceremonies at the home of the High Commissioner of Canada to India in New Delhi and at the City Hall in Toronto.

Diwali festival is celebrated in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. The festival celebrates the triumph of goodness over evil. Goodness is symbolized by light and evil by darkness. Many Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists take part in these annual festivities. A few weeks before Diwali all places of worship, work or living are cleaned and decorated. Many communities follow cultural traditions by lighting small oil lamps (called diya), cooking sweets and festival feast and by creating art patters (called rangoli) using paint or flowers. Families and friends also take part in fireworks displays and visit elders to get their blessings. Many businesses prepare new account books and pray for god fortune. Diwali is celebrated based on many historical/mythological events, which vary in different communities. One of the beliefs is that Lord Ram returned home on the day of Diwali, after fourteen years of exile.

One can buy the Indian stamps from ePostOffice and the Candian ones from Canada Post.

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