US State Department Welcomes Forever Diwali Stamp Release

John Kirby, the spokesperson of the US State Department

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Washington, DC – The United States Department of State, the hub of diplomatic activity and life line of international relations welcomed the decision of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to commemorate the joyous Hindu festival of Diwali with a Forever stamp..

Addressing journalists at the daily press briefing, John Kirby, the spokesperson said, “We’re actually very pleased to note that the US Postal Service commemorated the Hindu festival of Diwali with a forever stamp. As you know, that stamp was unveiled at the Indian consulate in New York on Wednesday (October 5).

Replying to a question from IAT, Kirby continued, “The post service – the Postal Service receives approximately 40,000 suggestions for stamp ideas annually from the public; 25 suggestions are selected by the committee for the Postmaster General’s approval. And as millions around the world celebrate Diwali at the end of the month, we certainly wish them the best.”

Earlier this month, USPS dedicated the Diwali Forever stamp and held a first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at the Consulate General of India in New York City.

“The Postal Service is honored to issue this Forever stamp that celebrates the Festival of Diwali,” said USPS Vice President of Mail Entry and Payment Technology Pritha Mehra. “We hope these stamps will light up millions of cards and letters as they make their journey through the mailstream.”


“While this journey may have taken years, the Postal Service has issued a Diwali stamp that will continue to resonate forever,” said Diwali Stamp Project Chair Ranju Batra. “Now for the first time there is a stamp that celebrates Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists as Americans forever. Our heartfelt thanks to all of those who have supported this stamp. The Diwali stamp will be a matter of pride for generations to come,” she added.


Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, Consul General of India and host of the event told the audience, “I am very honored to be part of history as the United States Postal Service releases the Diwali Forever stamp at the consulate today.”

“Since the start of the American Revolution, destiny has beckoned the United States and India to be the closest allies,” said Ravi Batra, National Advisory Council South Asian Affairs and who served as emcee. “The Diwali Forever stamp represents nothing short of respectful inclusive indivisibility: E Pluribus Unum — within America and between two sovereigns,” he noted.

India’s Former Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Member of the United Nations Security Council (Ret.) Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri; Sand Hill Group Managing Director M. R. Rangaswami; and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) were present among others.

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 clarified butter known as “ghee” or in vegetable oils.


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, served as the project’s art director.

diwali-stampThe Diwali stamp is being issued as a Forever stamp. This Forever stamp is always equal to the value of the current First Class Mail 1-ounce price.

Also known as Deepavali, Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Spanning five days each autumn, Diwali 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. Diwali also is celebrated as a major holiday by followers of the Jain and Sikh faiths.


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