UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE (USPS) COMMEMORATES DIWALI FESTIVAL WITH A FOREVER STAMP

Diwali stamp

Diwali Stamp commemorating Hindu festival of Deepavali will be released by USPS on October 5 in New York

Atlanta: United States Postal Service (USPS) has announced on August 23 that it will commemorate the joyous Hindu festival of Diwali with a Forever stamp. Diwali forever stamp will be released on Wednesday, October 5 at the Consulate General of India, New York. The Diwali stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp. This Forever stamp will also be equal in value to the current First Class Mail 1-ounce price.

The stamp design is a photograph featuring a traditional Diya oil lamp beautifully lit, sitting on a sparkling gold background. Diya lamps are usually made from clay with cotton wicks dipped in a clarified butter known as “ghee” or in vegetable oils.

Diwali, the great gala, the great celebration, gorgeous festival is celebrated worldwide. Diwali is the festival of lights, the festival of joy, prosperity, knowledge, wisdom and everything because light indicates many things. And it is not enough if one lamp is lit, we need lots of lamps to be lit for knowledge to blossom and for the darkness to go. So that is why on Diwali lots of lamps are lit. DEEPAVALI or Diwali means “a row of lights”. It falls on the last two days of the dark half of Kartika (October-November). For some it is a three-day festival. It commences with the Dhan-Teras, on the 13th day of the dark half of Kartika, followed the next day by the Naraka Chaturdashi, the 14th day, and by Deepavali on the 15th day.

There are various alleged origins attributed to this festival. Some hold that they celebrate the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. In Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Kali. It also commemorates that blessed day on which the triumphant Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. On this day also Sri Krishna killed the demon Narakasura. In South India people take an oil bath in the morning and wear new clothes. They partake of sweetmeats. They light fireworks which are regarded as the effigies of Narakasura who was killed on this day.

On hearing the news that USPS will be releasing Diwali stamp, Indian community leaders said years of request and wait is finally over. Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu to be elected to the US House of Representatives joined her Congressional colleagues to co-sponsor a resolution to issue a US postal stamp on Diwali. Among other lawmakers Senators Mark Warner and John Cornyn and House members Joe Crowley, Ed Royce, Ami Bera, and George Holding, all past or present co-chairs of their chamber’s India Caucuses, also led significant campaigns to assure Congressional support for this measure.

Ravi R Ponangi in conversation with Congress woman Tulsi Gabbard in Atlanta Diwali celbration

File photo: Congress Woman Tulsi Gabbard talking to Ravi Ponangi in 2013 Atlanta Diwali Mela

In a message, Congress woman Gabbard said congratulations and thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to get the Diwali stamp approved in the U.S.! The U.S. Postal Service will commemorate the joyous Hindu festival of Diwali with a Forever stamp on Wednesday, October 5th, at a dedication ceremony which will take place at the Indian Embassy in New York City. This has been a long and arduous process but this act by the U.S. Postal Service to recognize this special day and to further increase and enrich our nation’s tapestry of religious and cultural diversity will be greatly appreciated by many.

 

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