The U.S. Postal Service will issue its first-ever stamp commemorating a Hindu holiday in October.
The stamp will be issued on October 5 and will be marked with a ceremony at the Consulate General of India in New York, according to the Postal Service.
The stamp commemorates the Hindu holiday of Diwali, which begins with the first new moon between mid-October and mid-November. This year, it begins October 29-30.
The Forever stamp features a photograph of a traditional candle used during the holiday, and was approved by religious officials.
Though Christians, Jews and Muslims have had stamps that represent their religious holidays for many years, the Diwali stamp is a first for Hindus, and came after a massive public campaign.
Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the only Hindu in Congress, was part of the effort to get a Hindu stamp, but the post office said it was the overall number of people who demanded it that got their attention, William Gicker, director of stamp development, told The Washington Post.
"This was the biggest push, the most people writing in," Gicker said. "From our standpoint, we are producing stamps for people to use for holidays … Looking at the numbers, we saw that Diwali is a holiday that people send cards and correspondence. So we were happy to support that."
Hindu American Foundation executive director Suhag A. Shukla praised the stamp, reports Religion News Service.
"HAF is proud to have been a part of what truly was a grass-roots community effort," Shukla said. "This year and for many more, diyas and spirits will shine brighter, as will greetings cards and gift packages sent donning the Diwali stamp."
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