StampNews.com is glad to inform our readers that the USPS has unveiled a new stamp commemorating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Diwali, which falls between mid-October and mid-November, is depicted on the stamp with a lit diya oil lamp, a lamp traditionally used in many Hindu holidays.
The stamp will first be issued on Oct. 5, and a first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony will also take place at the Consulate General of India in New York.
Also known as Deepavali, Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Spanning five days each autumn, it is considered by some to be the start of the new year.
On the Hindu calendar, Diwali falls on the eve of, or on, the new moon that occurs between mid-October and mid-November. In 2016, the main day of the festival will be celebrated Oct. 29 for South Indians and Oct 30 for North Indians.
Diwali is a shortened version of the Sanskrit word Deepavali, which roughly translates as "a necklace of lights". During Diwali, the flickering oil-wick diyas sprinkle the homes of observers around the world.
Before the festival, many Hindus traditionally go shopping, clean their homes, open their doors and windows, create intricate rangoli ‒ a vibrant floor pattern traditionally made from materials such as rice powder, colored sand and flower petals ‒ and light diyas with hopes that Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, will visit. In some regions of India, people play games, just as Hindu lore says that the god Shiva did. On the festive main day of the holiday, families pray for Lakshmi, dress up in their best clothes, enjoy lavish feasts and sweets, exchange gifts and light fireworks. Diwali also marks the new year for people in Gujarat and a few other states of India. Diwali also is celebrated as a major holiday by followers of the Jain and Sikh faiths.
Sally Andersen-Bruce of New Milford, CT, photographed the diya. Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, designed the stamp and William J. Gicker of Washington, DC, service as the project's art director.