US Postal Service Eid Stamp Getting a Makeover in 2016
By Noman Hassan
Every year the United States Postal Service (USPS) brings joy and cheer to millions in the United States and across the world with its Holiday Stamp Program. The first holiday stamp, a set of Christmas stamps, was issued on November 1, 1962 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Since 1962, USPS has added Hanukkah, Kawanzaa and Eid stamps to its holiday stamp program to celebrate Jewish, African-American and Muslim traditions and holidays respectively.
The first Eid stamp was issued on September 1, 2001 to commemorate the two most important festivals in the Islamic calendar, namely, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha (also known as Eids). Eid stamps shown below feature the phrase “Eid Mibarak” in gold Arabic scripts on a blue background – the phrase “Eid Mubarak” means “Eid Greetings or Blessed Festival”. On the days of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha, Muslims greet each other with the phrase shown on the stamps – “Eid Mubarak” which can be paraphrased as “May your religious holiday be blessed”. Since the first issuance in 2001, Eid Stamp had been reissued seven times with the same calligraphy and script but with different background colors (Blue, Maroon, and Green) and as Forever stamp.
In 2016, US Postal Service is giving the EID Stamp a well over due makeover. 2016 Issuance of Forever EID Stamp will feature the phrase “Eidukum Mubarak” in golden Arabic script on a purple background – meaning “May your Eid be blessed (bountiful)”. All these Eid stamps with gold calligraphy in Arabic against various color backgrounds feature the work of Mohamed Zakariya, a world-renowned calligrapher.
Eid al-Fitr, marks the end of the month of fasting known as Ramadan, revered as the month of blessing, charily and devotion to God. The first verses of the Holy book of Islam – Qur’an - were revealed to Prophet Muhammad during the month of Ramadan and it is believed that the revelation was also completed during the month of Ramadan. Religious practice of fasting is shared by the three Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam – though in different forms and on different days.
Eid al-Adha is celebrated at the end of Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). All Muslims (regardless of gender) who are healthy and can afford to travel to Mecca are mandated to perform Hajj at least once in a lifetime. Eid al-Adha, also known as the festival of sacrifice, is also celebrated to commemorate Prophet Abraham’s submission to Allah’s command and Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his beloved son, Prophet Ishmael. Allah accepted Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice and replaced his son with an animal. On the day of Eid al-Adha, Muslims remember Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice and trials and sacrifice an animal such as sheep, goat or camel. The meat of the animal is shared with the poor, family and relatives.
The issuance of the Eid stamp on September 1, 2001 precisely 10 days before the 9/11 terrorist attack, had not been without controversy. USPS received letters of protest but the letters of support outnumbered the letters of protest. Such controversies are not new to USPS as the issuance of the first Christmas stamp in 1962 was opposed by some groups who were concerned about separation of church and state. USPS issuance and reissuance of Eid stamp is an excellent proof and testimony of United States tolerance and diversity.
Next time you visit your local post office, make sure to purchase USPS Holiday Stamps collection and become part of the festivals of Christianity, Judaism, African Americans and Islam.
(Noman Hassan is a motivational speaker, freelance writer and cancer survivor. He is an IT expert by profession with interest in HealthCare IT, Computer Security, Technical Customer Support, and Computer Hardware Design. Email: email@example.com)