U.S. POSTAGE STAMP CELEBRATING MUSLIM HOLIDAY TO BE ISSUED BY UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE
Eid Stamp Part of Holiday Celebrations Series.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Postal Service is expanding its Holiday Celebrations Series with a new stamp highlighting the Muslim holiday of Eid.
The 34-cent Eid stamp will be issued on Sept. 1 at the annual Islamic Society of North America’s convention at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 North River Road, Des Plaines, Ill, at 11:45 a.m. The stamp will be available at the convention and at post offices nationwide on Sept. 1.
“This is a proud moment for the Postal Service, the Muslim community, and Americans in general as we issue a postage stamp to honor and commemorate two important Islamic celebrations,” said Azeezaly S. Jaffer, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications for the Postal Service, who will dedicate the stamp. “The Eid stamp will help us highlight the business, educational and social contributions of the estimated six to seven million Muslims in this country whose cultural heritage has become an integral part of the fabric of this great nation.”
The Eid stamp commemorates the two most important festivals—or eids—in the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. On these days, Muslims wish each other “Eid mubarak,” the phrase featured in Islamic calligraphy on the stamp. “Eid mubarak” translates literally as “blessed festival,” and can be paraphrased as “May your religious holiday be blessed.” This phrase can be applied to both Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Joining Jaffer will be Danny Jackson, Postal Service Vice President, Great Lakes Area; Mohamed Zakariya, calligrapher and Eid stamp designer and W. Deen Mohammed, spokesperson for the Muslim American Society.
“W.D.M. Ministry and the Muslim American Society members and our Muslim families celebrate the issue of this Eid stamp by the Postal Service,” said W. Deen Mohammed. “It is beautiful. We love it.”
The first day of the Muslim lunar month of Shawwal, Eid al-Fitr signifies “The Feast of Breaking the Fast.” This festival marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. As prescribed in the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, fasting during Ramadan begins from just before first light until sunset. Eid al-Fitr is observed by offering special alms with prayers, feasting, exchanging gifts and visiting family and friends.
Signifying “The Feast of the Sacrifice,” Eid al-Adha occurs approximately two months and ten days after Eid al-Fitr. Eid al-Adha comes at the end of the hajj—the annual period of pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca—and commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail. (This is the Muslim account of the Judeo-Christian story of Abraham and Isaac.) Eid al-Adha is celebrated with prayers and social gatherings and traditionally includes the sacrifice of a lamb (or any other animal permitted for food in Islam) as an act of thanksgiving for Allah’s mercy. The sacrificial animal is distributed among family, friends and the poor.
In 2002, Eid al-Adha will be celebrated on Feb. 23 and Eid al-Fitr will be celebrated on Dec. 6.
Previous stamps in the Holiday Celebrations series are Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Cinco de Mayo. The Thanksgiving stamp will also be issued in 2001 as part of the series.
The Eid stamp, designed by Zakariya of Arlington, Va., features the Arabic phrase “Eid mubarak” in gold calligraphy on a blue background. English text on the stamps reads “EID GREETINGS.”
Employing traditional methods and instruments to create this design, Zakariya chose a script known in Arabic as “thuluth” and in Turkish as “sulus.” He describes it as “the choice script for a complex composition due to its open proportions and sense of balance.” He used homemade black ink, and his pens were crafted from seasoned reeds from the Near East and Japanese bamboo from Hawaii. The paper was specially prepared with a coating of starch and three coats of alum and egg-white varnish, then burnished with an agate stone and aged for more than a year.
Zakariya’s black-and-white design was then colorized by computer. The colors chosen for the stamp—gold script on a blue background—are reminiscent of great works of Islamic calligraphy. This is Zakariya’s first project for the Postal Service.
To see the Eid stamp, and other forthcoming stamps and stationery in the 2001 U.S. stamp program, visit the Postal Store at www.usps.com and click on “Stamp Release Schedule.” To see previous releases, select “Index of Stamp Issues.”
All current stamps and other philatelic products, as well as a free philatelic catalog, are available by calling toll free 1 800 STAMP-24. A selection of current stamps and gift items are also available online at the Postal Store.
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