The Armistice on 11 November 1918 which ended the First World War is commemorated in many different ways throughout the world. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.

In the United States of America, the commemoration was originally called Armistice Day but has been known as Veterans Day since 1954. It is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on November 11, for honoring military veterans, that is, persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces (and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable). Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service. There is another military holiday, Armed Forces Day, a minor U.S. remembrance that also occurs in May, which honors those currently serving in the U.S. military.

Remembrance Day (sometimes known informally as Poppy Day owing to the tradition of the remembrance poppy) is observed in Commonwealth member states to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. The tradition of Remembrance Day evolved out of Armistice Day. The initial Armistice Day was observed at Buckingham Palace, commencing with King George V hosting a “Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic” during the evening hours of 10 November 1919. The first official Armistice Day was subsequently held on the grounds of Buckingham Palace the following morning. During the Second World War, many countries changed the name of the holiday. Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations adopted Remembrance Day, while the United States chose Veterans Day.

“Armistice Day” remains the name of the holiday in France (“Armistice de la Première Guerre mondiale“) and Belgium. This is one of the most important military celebrations in France, since World War I was a major French victory and the French paid a heavy price in blood to achieve it. The First World War was considered in France as the “Great Patriotic War”. Almost all French villages feature memorials dedicated to those fallen during the conflict. In France the blue cornflower (Bleuet de France) is used symbolically rather than the poppy.

Front page of The New York Times on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918. Image from Wikipedia.

On November 11, 1919, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day, in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN
The White House, November 11, 1919.
A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.

With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.

Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.

To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.
WOODROW WILSON

U.S. World War I veteran Joseph Ambrose (1896–1988) attends the dedication parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, Clement, who was killed in the Korean War. Photo taken by Mickey Sanborn of the Department of Defense’s Defense Audiovisual Agency on 13 November 1982. It was provided by the National Archives and Records Administration and is considered one of the finest images in the Wikipedia Commons.

The United States Congress adopted a resolution on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for the observance of November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made November 11 in each year a legal holiday: “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, determined Weeks as the “Father of Veterans Day.”

U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954. It had been eight and a half years since Weeks held his first Armistice Day celebration for all veterans.

Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.

The National Veterans Award was also created in 1954. Congressman Rees of Kansas received the first National Veterans Award in Birmingham, Alabama, for his support offering legislation to make Veterans Day a federal holiday.

Although originally scheduled for celebration on November 11 of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978, it was moved back to its original celebration on November 11. While the legal holiday remains on November 11, if that date happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday, then organizations that formally observe the holiday will normally be closed on the adjacent Friday or Monday, respectively. Non-essential federal government offices are closed. No mail is delivered. All federal workers are paid for the holiday; those who are required to work on the holiday sometimes receive holiday pay for that day in addition to their wages.

While the holiday is commonly printed as Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day in calendars and advertisements (spellings that are grammatically acceptable), the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website states that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”

The common British, Canadian, South African, and ANZAC tradition includes a one- or two-minute silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month (11:00 am, 11 November), as that marks the time (in the United Kingdom) when the armistice became effective.

The first two-minute silence held in London (11 November 1919) was reported in the Manchester Guardian on 12 November 1919:

The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect.

The tram cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also, seeming to do it of their own volition.

Someone took off his hat, and with a nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of ‘attention’. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes, and the man beside her looked white and stern. Everyone stood very still … The hush deepened. It had spread over the whole city and become so pronounced as to impress one with a sense of audibility. It was a silence which was almost pain … And the spirit of memory brooded over it all.

The Cenotaph on Whitehall, London, with wreaths laid down on Remembrance Day. Photo taken by Chris Nyborg in November 2004. Image from Wikipedia.

The Service of Remembrance in many Commonwealth countries generally includes the sounding of the “Last Post”, followed by the period of silence, followed by the sounding of “Reveille” or sometimes just “The Rouse” (often confused for each other), and finished by a recitation of the “Ode of Remembrance”. The “Flowers of the Forest”, “O Valiant Hearts”, “I Vow to Thee, My Country” and “Jerusalem” are often played during the service. Services also include wreaths laid to honor the fallen, a blessing, and national anthems.

The central ritual at cenotaphs throughout the Commonwealth is a stylized night vigil. The Last Post was the common bugle call at the close of the military day, and The Rouse was the first call of the morning. For military purposes, the traditional night vigil over the slain was not just to ensure they were indeed dead and not unconscious or in a coma, but also to guard them from being mutilated or despoiled by the enemy, or dragged off by scavengers. This makes the ritual more than just an act of remembrance but also a pledge to guard the honor of war dead. The act is enhanced by the use of dedicated cenotaphs (literally Greek for “empty tomb”) and the laying of wreaths — the traditional means of signaling high honors in ancient Greece and Rome.

On 11 November 2018, the centenary of the World War One Armistice, commemorations were held globally. In France, more than 60 heads of government and heads of state gathered at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The Thin Red Line by Harold H. Piffard from Canada in Khaki showing red poppies separating the war and peace. Originally painted in 1917, this restoration was done by Adam Cuerden and is part of the University of Victoria Digital Collections.

While a number of stamp-issuing entities released stamps last year to mark the centenary of the end of World War I, I believe only Alderney — part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands — has marked the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day with a stamp.  Issued today, the souvenir sheet features a poppy and is described on the Guernsey Post website:

The 100th anniversary of Remembrance Day is our final 2019 issue for Alderney and is a beautiful miniature sheet with a poppy shaped stamp.

Letters and poems from WW1 soldiers sent back from the trenches make up the background design.

The French and Belgian countryside was devastated by the mechanics of the First World War but with their seeds exposed by the fighting, resilient red poppies fought back and thrived in the churned-up landscape, growing in their thousands on the battlefields of Flanders.

Many soldiers fighting on the Frontline wrote about the poppies in their letters home to loved ones.

The stamp is featured on A Stamp A Day in an article that takes a more detailed look at the Remembrance Poppy itself.

Alderney: 100th Anniversary of Remembrance Day miniature sheet, 11 November 2019 – first day cover. Image from Guernsey Post.

 

United States – Scott #5066 (May 30, 2016)

It is Memorial Day back in the United States, a day for remembering and honoring the people who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces observed on the last Monday of May. It is also considered the unofficial start of the summer vacation season in the United States, while Labor Day marks its end on the first Monday of September.

I had planned to put together a full treatment of the holiday for the A Stamp A Day blog. However, of our teachers passed away Sunday evening. I spent most of Monday coordinating with his family back in Canada, assisting them as best as I could over the long distant phone lines in this time of sorrow.

Even without this loss of somebody I considered a good friend as well as a colleague, my work has been quite hectic over the past month or so.  The new school year hasn’t even begun for about half of our schools (delayed from mid-May until next week although Monday is a newly-created national holiday for the birthday of the new Queen), yet I am busier now than in recent memory. I have not had much time at all to pursue philately. I don’t see that changing anytime in the near future but will make an attempt at another column within the next week or two.

In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys today’s holiday and those to come.

Memorial Day cover from U.S.S. Texas – May 30, 1933
Thailand – Vesak Buja special souvenir sheet (May 10, 2019)

Over the next several days (between May 18 and May 20), many Buddhists are participating in ceremonies for one of the most important dates on the calendar. Vesak commemorates the birth, enlightenment (Buddhahood), and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition. It is also known as Buddha Jayanti, Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day and is traditionally observed by Buddhists and some Hindus on different days in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tibet, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia and the Philippines and in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam as “Buddha’s Birthday” as well as in other parts of the world.

On Monday, 20 May, I will post a longer version of this article to my A Stamp A Day blog.

Today is International Women’s Day. I had originally planned to write about it for today’s entry on A Stamp A Day.  However, I found that I don’t have a single stamp in my collection marking this annual special day. I do have several that commemorated International Women’s Year in 1975 (including the United States and Canada, neither of which have issued a stamp for International Women’s Day). My “rule” on ASAD is that each featured stamp MUST be in my collection so my usual modus operandi when such a thing occurs is to mark it on the calendar for “next year” and then order an appropriate stamp from a dealer on eBay. In doing a search on that site this morning, I discovered a huge variety of stamps and took an interest in seeing how different countries honored women each year. Rather than choose one or two and then wait a year, I have chosen to share many of the stamps I found here on Philatelic Pursuits today where I haven’t placed any “must be in my collection” constraints (or, is that restraints?).

Australia – Scott #3412 (2011) marking the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day

 International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909, in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

Today, International Women’s Day is a public holiday in some countries and largely ignored elsewhere. In some places, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood.

The earliest Women’s Day observance, called “National Woman’s Day,” was held on February 28, 1909 in New York, organized by the Socialist Party of America at the suggestion of Theresa Malkiel. Though there have been claims that the day was commemorating a protest by women garment workers in New York on March 8, 1857, researchers have described this as a myth.

People’s Republic of China – Scott #1587 (2010) – featuring Clara Zetkin

In August 1910, an International Socialist Women’s Conference was organized to precede the general meeting of the Socialist Second International in Copenhagen, Denmark. Inspired in part by the American socialists, German Socialist Luise Zietz proposed the establishment of an annual Women’s Day and was seconded by fellow socialist and later communist leader Clara Zetkin, supported by Käte Duncker, although no date was specified at that conference. Delegates (100 women from 17 countries) agreed with the idea as a strategy to promote equal rights including suffrage for women. The following year on March 19, 1911, IWD was marked for the first time, by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In the Austro-Hungarian Empire alone, there were 300 demonstrations. In Vienna, women paraded on the Ringstrasse and carried banners honoring the martyrs of the Paris Commune. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against employment sex discrimination. The Americans continued to celebrate National Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February.

German poster for International Women’s Day, March 8, 1914. This poster was banned in the German Empire.

In 1913, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Saturday in February (by the Julian calendar then used in Russia).

In 1914, International Women’s Day was held on March 8 in Germany, possibly because that day was a Sunday, and now it is always held on March 8 in all countries. The 1914 observance of the Day in Germany was dedicated to women’s right to vote, which German women did not win until 1918.

In London, there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women’s suffrage on March 8, 1914. Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square.

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #1339 (1949)

On March 8, 1917, on the Gregorian calendar, in the capital of the Russian Empire, Petrograd, women textile workers began a demonstration, covering the whole city. This marked the beginning of the February Revolution, which alongside the October Revolution made up the Russian Revolution. Women in Saint Petersburg went on strike that day for “Bread and Peace” – demanding the end of World War I, an end to Russian food shortages, and the end of czarism. Leon Trotsky wrote, “23 February (8th March) was International Woman’s Day and meetings and actions were foreseen. But we did not imagine that this ‘Women’s Day’ would inaugurate the revolution. Revolutionary actions were foreseen but without date. But in the morning, despite the orders to the contrary, textile workers left their work in several factories and sent delegates to ask for support of the strike… which led to mass strike… all went out into the streets.” Seven days later, the Emperor of Russia, Nicholas II abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote.

Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai and Vladimir Lenin made it an official holiday in the Soviet Union, but it was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965, by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women’s Day was declared a non-working day in the USSR “in commemoration of the outstanding merits of Soviet women in communistic construction, in the defense of their Fatherland during the Great Patriotic War, in their heroism and selflessness at the front and in the rear, and also marking the great contribution of women to strengthening friendship between peoples, and the struggle for peace. But still, women’s day must be celebrated as are other holidays.”

People’s Republic of China – Scott #405-406 (1959)

From its official adoption in Soviet Russia following the Revolution in 1917, the holiday was predominantly celebrated in communist countries and by the communist movement worldwide. It was celebrated by the communists in China from 1922. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, the State Council proclaimed on December 23 that March 8 would be made an official holiday with women in China given a half-day off.

Communist leader Dolores Ibárruri led a women’s march in Madrid in 1936 on the eve of the Spanish Civil War.

The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in the International Women’s Year, 1975. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

The day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.

Pakistan – Scott #1095 (2007) first day cover

In some countries, such as Cameroon, Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Chile, the day is not a public holiday, but is widely observed nonetheless. On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – friends, mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. – flowers and small gifts. In some countries (such as Bulgaria and Romania) it is also observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. In Russia, the day has lost all political context through the time, becoming simply a day to honor women and feminine beauty.

Soviet poster: “8th of March is the day of rebellion of the working women against kitchen slavery. Down with the oppression and narrow-mindedness of household work!”

In the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, huge Soviet-style celebrations were held annually. After the fall of Communism, the holiday, generally considered to be one of the major symbols of the old regime, fell into obscurity. International Women’s Day was re-established as an official “important day” by the Parliament of the Czech Republic in 2004 on the proposal of the Social Democrats and Communists. This has provoked some controversy as a large part of the public as well as the political right see the holiday as a relic of the nation’s Communist past.

International Women’s Day sparked violence in Tehran, Iran on March 4, 2007, when police beat hundreds of men and women who were planning a rally. A previous rally for the occasion was held in Tehran in 2003. Police arrested dozens of women and some were released after several days of solitary confinement and interrogation. Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh and several more community activists were released on March 19, 2007, ending a fifteen-day hunger strike.

Italy – Michel #3246 (2011) oddly, the Scott catalogue doesn’t list this particular stamp (I am not sure why)

In Italy, to celebrate the day, men give yellow mimosas to women. Communist politician Teresa Mattei chose the mimosa in 1946 as the symbol of IWD in Italy because she felt that the French symbols of the day, violets and lily-of-the-valley, were too scarce and expensive to be used effectively in Italy.

In the United States, actress and human rights activist Beata Pozniak worked with the Mayor of Los Angeles and the Governor of California to lobby members of the U.S. Congress to propose official recognition of the holiday. In February 1994, H. J. Res. 316 was introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters, along with 79 cosponsors, in an attempt to officially recognize March 8 of that year as International Women’s Day. The bill was subsequently referred to, and remained in, the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. No vote of either house of Congress was achieved on this piece of legislation.

Women on the street celebrating International Women’s Day in Cameroon. Photo taken by Mbiele Happi on February 11, 2015. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

As of 2019, International Women’s Day will also be celebrated as a public holiday in the federal state of Berlin, Germany.

The following is listing of International Women’s Day stamps. It is by no means complete, but it is an interesting topical. All images in this article have been sourced from eBay or Wikipedia.

Albania

Albania – Scott #553-554 (1960)

Australia

Australia – Scott #3412 (2011) marking the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day
Australia – Scott #3412 (2011) first day cover

Belgium

Belgium – Scott #1336 (1990) first day cover

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Scott #616 (2008)
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Scott #616 (2008) miniature sheet of 6, plus 2 center labels

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Croat Administration)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Croat administration) – Scott #229 (2010)

Bulgaria

Bulgaria – Scott #892 (1955)

Chile

Chile – Scott #1132 (1995) miniature sheet of 4
Chile – Scott #1452 (2006)

People’s Republic of China

People’s Republic of China – Scott #175-176 (1953)
People’s Republic of China – Scott #405-406 (1959)
People’s Republic of China – Scott #1114-1116 (1973) ‘International Working Women’s Day’
People’s Republic of China – Scott #1218-1221 (1975) ‘International Working Women’s Day’ – these stamps depict rural teachers, something near and dear to my heart
People’s Republic of China – Scott #1587 (1980) ‘International Working Women’s Day’ was founded by Clara Zetkin, according to the Chinese Philatelic Agency
People’s Republic of China – Scott #2265 (1990) block of 4

Costa Rica

Costa Rica – Michel #BL82 (2017) miniature sheet of 3

Ecuador

Ecuador – Scott #1565 (2001) Personally, I don’t like it when the Scott catalogue assigns one number to two se-tenant (joined) stamps that are not in a miniature sheet, assigning subletters to the individual stamps; in this case, the top stamp is Scott #1565a while the bottom is #1565b.

Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands – Scott #548 (2011)

France

France – Scott #1861 (1983)
France – Scott #1918 (1984)
France – Scott #4353-4364 (2013) issued in a booklet of 12 stamps titled, “Values of Women, Women of Values” for International Women’s Day
France – miniature sheet (2016) commemorative cover; I couldn’t find this one on Colnect

German Democratic Republic

German Democratic Republic – Scott #233-234 (1955)
German Democratic Republic – Scott #233-234 (1955) first day cover

Greece

Greece – Michel #2985-2986 (2018)
Greece – Michel #2985-2986 (2018) first day cover

Greenland

Greenland – Scott #567 (2010)

Hungary

Hungary – Scott #2911 (1985)

India

India – Scott #2189e (2007) miniature sheet
India – International Women’s Day (2014) special commemorative cover

Italy

Italy – Michel #3426 (2011)
Italy – Michel #3426 (2011) first day cover

Laos

Laos – 1265-1267 (1996)

Macao

Macao – Scott #1308a-1308d (2010) miniature sheet of 16
Macau – Scott #1308a-1308d (2010) first day cover
Macao – Scott #1309 (2010) souvenir sheet
Macao – Scott #1309 (2010) first day cover

Mexico

Mexico – International Women’s Day (1988) special commemorative cover using Scott #1436 World Health Day stamp issued in 1986
Mexico – Scott #2065 (1998) first day cover
Mexico – Scott #2279 (2002) International Women’s Institute
Mexico – Scott #2438 (2005) first day cover
Mexico – Scott #2518 (2006) first day cover

Mongolia

Mongolia – Scott #191-192 (1960)

Pakistan

Pakistan – Scott #1095 (2007)
Pakistan – Scott #1095 (2007) first day cover

Romania

Romania – Scott #1318 (1960) block of 4
Romania – International Women’s Day (1962) postal card

Spain

Spain – Scott #3785 (2011)
Spain – Scott #3785 (2011) first day cover

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #1123-1124 (1947)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #1339 (1949)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #2306 (1960) maximum card
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – International Women’s Day (1964) postal card
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #3301 (1967)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #3301 (1960) bock of four
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – Scott #3705 (1970) ‘International Women’s Solidarity Day’

Uruguay

Uruguay – Scott #1350 (1990); although imprinted with a date of 1989, this was actually issued on June 26, 1990, in sheets of 25 – issued stamp is on the right, two color trial proofs are pictured on the left
Uruguay – International Women’s Day (2018)

Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam)

Democratic Republic of Vietnam – Scott #118 (1960)

Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia – Scott #2403 (1998) first day cover

Women’s demonstration for bread and peace – March 8, 1917, Petrograd, Russia. — Hungarian: Nemzetközi Nőnap. A felvétel 1917. március 8-án (a Gergely naptár szerint, az orosz szerint ez a nap február 23-a, az első Nőnapon készült Petrográdban (jelenleg Szentpétervár). Ismeretlen fényképész felvétele. Ezen a napon Oroszországban nők tüntettek. Jelszavukː Kenyeret és békét. A tüntetés előzménye azt volt, hogy a bolsevik Pravdában hetek óta cikksorozat jelent meg a dolgozó nők sanyarú sorsáról. A propaganda kampány csúcspontját a szerkesztők erre a napra időzítették. (Hvg.2017.03.01 – 43.old). A tüntetés után négy nappal II. Miklós cár lemondott, polgári kormány alakult, mely szavazójogot biztosított a nőknek. Ezzel vált véglegessé a nőnap dátuma is. Bár már korábban elhatározták Nőnap tartását, ennek időpontja azonban változó volt. Ezzel a tüntetéssel rögződött a Nemzetközi Nőnap időpontja: március 8-a. — Google Translation (unedited): International Women’s Day. Recording on March 8, 1917 (according to the Gregorian calendar, according to the Russian, this day was February 23, the first Women’s Day was made in Petrograd (currently St. Petersburg). The photograph of an unidentified photographer. The antecedent of the demonstration was that the Bolshevik Pravda had published a series of articles about the fate of working women for weeks. Tsar Nicholas II resigned, a civilian government was formed, which gave women the right to vote, and the date of the Women’s Day became definitive. .

Happy Valentine’s Day or as it is known in Thailand, Wan Rak (“Day of Love”).

The Philatelic Museum in Bangkok has a special Valentine's Day postmark. I really wish the museum in Phuket would do something like this sometime.
The Philatelic Museum in Bangkok has a special Valentine’s Day postmark. I really wish the post office or museum in Phuket would do something similar.

Continue reading “Weekly Phila-Bytes #2019-06 (Valentine’s Edition)”

China - New Year's Greetings (January 10, 2019)
China – New Year’s Greetings (January 10, 2019)

Happy Chinese New Year!

Thailand, and particularly places like Phuket where I live, has a very large Thai-Chinese population stemming from migrations in the late 19th century who arrived to work in the tin mines. My tiny lane just to the north of the historical district of the provincial capital has several Chinese clan shrines which have been setting off fireworks every hour since yesterday morning. All of the schools were closed yesterday and remain shut today. There will be parades through town in the afternoon.

Thus, I am taking a day’s break from blogging so I can go out and enjoy the festivities.

In the meantime, let me offer a few useful phrases (although I cannot pronounce them properly as I am essentially tone-deaf and getting the tones correct is essential in Chinese):

  • 恭喜发财 (Gōngxǐ fācái): “Happiness and prosperity” (use this when receiving gifts or lucky money)
  • 新年好 (Xīnnián hǎo), 过年好 (Guònián hǎo), or 新年快乐 (Xīnnián kuàilè), all of which mean”Happy New Year”
  • 春节快乐 (Chūnjié kuàilè): “Happy Spring Festival”
  • 吉星高照 (Jíxīng gāozhào): “Fortune will smile on you”
  • 心想事成 (Xīnxiǎng shì chéng): “May all your wishes come true”

“Weekly Phila-Bytes” will return tomorrow.

October 9 is World Post Day, commemorating the date in 1874 that the Universal Postal Union was established. The week surrounding this date is also marked as International Letter Writing Week. My A STAMP A DAY blog has several articles about the Universal Postal Union and the commemorations of it, most extensive are those that appeared on this date in 2016 and one I published yesterday.

I have obtained a number of stamps over the years that specifically celebrate either International Letter Writing Week or World Post Day; many more in my collection mark the Universal Postal Union in some way (I have most of the 1949 omnibus for the UPU’s 75th anniversary, for example). I put together about 90 of my favorites for the slideshow below, titled by catalogue numbers (mostly Scott, but some of the newer stamps bear numbers from Michel, Stanley Gibbons, Thailand Post, and the UPU’s own World Numbering System..

Enjoy the stamps, write some letters (or postcards), and use the posts in your country!

 

Continue reading “World Stamp Day / International Letter Writing Week”

National Stamp Collecting Month 2018
National Stamp Collecting Month 2018
National Stamp Collecting Month 2018

Although I have lived in southern Thailand with its myriad of Royal and Buddhist holidays for going on 14 years now, there are a few American observances that I steadfastly cling to such as Independence Day and Thanksgiving (school is always in session during Christmas and the weather is so hot that I try to avoid the holiday altogether unless I am called upon to wear the Santa Claus costume to the delight of kindergarteners).

My favorite American “celebration”, of course, remains National Stamp Collecting Month each October. It is a rather philatelic month elsewhere as well containing such stamp-related observances as International Letter-Writing Week, World Post Day and several nations’ Stamp Days. In years past, I have promoted the stampy nature of October with a beginning-of-the-month article here on Philatelic Pursuits and the creation of a banner used on my personal Facebook page. For 2018, estimated to be my 35th year as a collector, I plan to step things up a notch or two.

Continue reading “Celebrating National Stamp Collecting Month”

NOTE: This article also appears, virtually the same, on Asian Meanderings — my main blog about my life in Thailand.

Since 1981, the month of October has been celebrated as National Stamp Collecting Month in the United States and Canada. November is National Stamp Collecting Month in the Philippines.

I began collecting stamps around the age of nine years old; counting a few breaks for other pursuits (girls, music, travel to name but three), I estimate that I have been involved in the hobby for a little more than 30 years. I promote it whenever and wherever I can these days, having begun collecting again following my move to Thailand more than a decade ago.

November is National Stamp Collecting Month in The Philippines
November is National Stamp Collecting Month in The Philippines

At the beginning of July 2016, I started a blog called A Stamp A Day on which I feature a different stamp (usually from a different place) each and every day. Different countries and territories have been included in a more or less alphabetical order and historic anniversaries and birthdays have been marked on occasion with an appropriate stamp. The write-ups (background histories on the issuing entities and details about the stamps) are often quite lengthy!

ASAD” is my second stamp blog; Philatelic Pursuits is still active with a post or two each month. I also have a blog dedicated to postcards that I receive through Postcrossing, trades, or traveling friends and family members. I feel that the hobbies of philately (stamps) and deltiology (postcards) compliment each other. I recently changed the name of my postcard blog (for the third time) and it is now called Postcards to Phuket.

I live in Phuket, an island province in the south of Thailand. It wasn’t long after I’d arrived here that I discovered the Phuket Philatelic Museum in the administrative capital of Phuket Town. My first visit was in the midst of celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the reign of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. I’d already been struck at how Thai people worshiped the king as a deity and had been swept up in royal fever. Seeing the beautiful stamps issued in his honor spurred me to return to the hobby.

While never much of a museum (a few dusty displays of telegraph equipment and several frames of stamp “reproductions” at the present), the Phuket Philatelic Museum contained a large shop which was filled with Thai stamps dating back to the early 1970s (all sold for face value), first day covers for the previous year’s releases, albums and supplies in a dedicated room.

About three years ago, the shop was moved to a counter in the museum lobby to make room for Thailand’s first drive-thru post office. Many of the supplies such as albums and ornate stamp pages plus older stamps were gone but at least I could still purchase the new-release stamps and first day covers (going back a year or so) as well as the annual yearbooks. The main clerk spoke good English and was extremely helpful. She was reassigned about a year ago, replaced by a woman who speaks very little English but is quite cheerful and always let me go through the stock books.

I recently visited the Phuket Philatelic Museum for the first time in quite a while and was told that they weren’t selling stamps anymore. There were a few first day covers remaining (most of which I already had). The clerk told me she didn’t know if they would receive any stamps in the future. She seemed quite upset about it. I’m actually worried that the museum itself might close down as I believe the sales counter was the only income source. There’s a meeting room that I believe used to be used by a local stamp club but I could never get any information about meetings, etc. I’ve had ideas in the past to organize a Postcrossing meeting there amongst members who live on the island or to form my own stamp club, but I just haven’t had the time.

I am now unable to purchase any Thai stamps locally; one visit to a nearby post office left me wondering if the two clerks on duty even knew what a stamp was!) I will have to rely on mail order until I find someplace else. It’s a shame as there have been some very interesting stamps issued by Thailand recently. I am looking forward to finding out what Thailand Post has planned to mark the one-year anniversary of King Bhumibol’s death; there’s already been an extensive series of banknotes and coins announced by the Royal Thai Mint.

The whole of October leading up to His Majesty’s cremation at the end of the month will be a period of intensified mourning in Thailand. The initial period lasted from his death on October 13, 2016, to the beginning of December (his birthday) when his son formally accepted the succession and became King Rama X.

While a number of people have remained wearing black for the entire year (including all teachers such as myself), it will once again be expected in public starting (I believe) today. Since midnight last night, all Thai television stations are broadcasting in black and white only; most of my Thai friends have changed their Facebook profile and cover photos to greyscale today. The public are requested not to engage in any festivities during the month of October and many entertainment and sporting events will be canceled.  There will be many other signs of mourning and I will put together another article in the near future detailing some of those.

I plan to do my part by combining my celebration of National Stamp Collecting Month with a memorial to the late king. I’ve decided to feature only Thai stamps on A Stamp A Day during the month of October, mainly those portraying King Bhumibol. I plan to keep the commentary to a minimum so that I’ll have the time (and energy!) to write a few how-to-collect articles for Philatelic Pursuits and add a few things to Postcards to Phuket as well.

Happy Stamp Collecting Month(s)!