Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali
दीपावली की शुभकामनाएं
शुभ दीपावली /दिवाळीच्या शुभेच्छा
தீபாவளி நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்
ദീപാവലി ആശംസകള്
ದೀಪಾವಳಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಷಯಗಳು
దీపావళి శుభాకా౦క్షలు

Deepavali (also: Depawali, Dipavali, Dewali, Diwali, Divali, Dipotsavi, Dipapratipad ) marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year according to the Lunar Calendar. It literally translated means 'Row of Lights' (from Sanskrit: dipa = lamp / awali = row, line). It celebrates the victory of Goodness over Evil and Light over Darkness - it ushers in the new year. Especially for this event people are cleaning their houses and wear new clothes. Diwali is a 5 day festival as Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Badi (Main) Diwali, Padwa and Bhaiduj. There are many different names for the days of Diwali in different regions of India (South & North India, East & West India) and in the different languages spoken in that regions (i.e. Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi). During Deepavali people pray to Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, light, prosperity and wisdom, but also to Ganesha, the 'Remover of Obstacles' and the 'Lord of Beginnings'.

Deepavali celebrations take place in many countries in the world. On the first day of the Diwali festival people pray and having a special breakfast made of many different foods. The Hindu Goddess Lakshmi's statue and images are carried through the streets in processions. There are various legends and stories associated with the Diwali festival. The story of Bali, Emergence of Laxmi, Krishna Narakasur Fight, Victory of Rama over Ravana and many more. Dipa Lights (also called Diwali Diyas, Kandils, Ghee Lamps or Parvati Ganesha Lamps) - made of clay, fueled with Oil from Coconuts, Mustard or Ghee (clarified butter), the wick made of cotton wool - are placed outside of houses, on floors and doorways. During Diwali festival, doorways are hung with torans of mango leaves and marigolds. Deepavali Melas are being enjoyed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains & Buddhists alike. On the day of Deepavali people exchange gifts, bursting firecrackers, lighting fireworks, colourful sparklers & bonfires and having festive meals. Diwali Melas (fairs) are held throughout India and the celebrations abroad. The Indian Festival of Lights takes place after the monsoon season has finished and the weather is nice and pleasant again.

Wishing Happy Diwali to everyone! Deepavali Valthukkal!! Shubh Diwali!!
Diwali starts from Vasubaras which is the 12th day of the 2nd half of the Marathi month Ashvin. This day is celebrated by performing an Aarti of the cow and its calf - which is a symbol of love between mother and her baby.
The next day is Dhana Trayodashi. This day is of special importance for traders and business people. It is also considered an auspicious day for making important purchases, especially metals, including kitchenware and precious metals like silver and gold.
This is followed by Naraka Chaturdashi. On this day people get up early in the morning and take their bath before sunrise while stars are still visible. Bathing is an elaborate process on this day with abundant use of ‘ubtans’, oils and perfumes, and is preceded by an Aarti performed on the person by some lady, usually mother or wife. The whole process is referred to as ‘abhyanga-snaan’.
Then comes Lakshmi- pooja. It occurs on Amavasya i.e. no moon day. The dark night is illuminated by lamps and at dusk firecrackers are burst. New account books are opened after a pooja. Generally the traders do not make any payments on that day (according to their belief Lakshmi should not be given away but must come home). In every household, cash, jewellery and an idol of the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. Friends, neighbours and relatives are invited over and celebrations are in full swing. The broom used to clean one's house is also worshipped as a symbol of Lakshmi in some places .
Padwa' is the 1st day of the new month – Kartik in the Hindu calendar. It marks the start of Hindu financial year. Its a special day for Husband and wife. The wife puts tilak on her husbands forehead and gets an expensive gift. In recent times there is a growing trend of organising a cultural event called 'Diwali Padwa' early in the morning.
Bhaubeej – it is the time when the bond of love between a brother and sister is further strengthened as the sister asks God for her brother/s' long and successful life while she receives presents from her beloved brothers.

Diwali Postage Stamps!
2008 Indian Diwali Stamp

Canada Post has created two picture postage stamps specifically designed to celebrate the festival of light.  One depicts a beautiful Diwali lotus flower and the other the Diwali candle symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness and the renewal of life. However, these stamps will not be available at retail counters and those wanting it will need to call Canada Post

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beautiful Australian Cover

I have received one more awesome cove from Australia, sent by Robin. This time with 2004 Gold Medalist and 2008 Beijing Olympic stamps on cover, as well as Mint and used stamps for 2000 Sydney Olympics stamps inside the cover. 3 Olympics in a cover………….. Great :)

Ryan Bayley :
Born in Perth, Western Australia, Bayley started competitive cycling in 1997 at fifteen years of age. He is a member of the Albany Cycling Club and employed by the Australian Institute of Sport.
Bayley won gold medals for the Sprint and Team Sprint track cycling events at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
His greatest success as a track cyclist came in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, where he won gold medals in the sprint and Keirin events.

Anna Meares :
Anna Meares started competitive cycling at the age of 11 in 1994, following her older sister Kerrie Meares into the sport. The family were inspired to take up competitive cycling by Kathy Watt winning a cycling gold medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. With the family living in the small Queensland coal-mining town of Middlemount, it was more than two hours drive to the nearest cycling track at Mackay for the girls to train.
During the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, she won a gold medal, and set a new world record in the Women's 500 metre time trial of 33.952 seconds. Meares had to beat a new Olympic record set just minutes previously by the reigning World Record holder, Yonghua Jiang of China. (See Cycling at the 2004 Summer Olympics). The event was abolished from the Olympic program so Meares could not defend her title in 2008.
Meares also won a bronze medal in the Women's 200m Sprint event in Athens.

This commemorative issue for the Beijing Olympics features the three sports of basketball, cycling and gymnastics, events that Australia has representatives in.
Incorporated into the design of the three stamps are the Olympic rings and the number eight. This number is auspicious in Chinese culture and fittingly, the Beijing Games will start at 8.00 pm on the eighth day of the eighth month in the year 2008.
This issue was designed by Hobart-based Lynda Warner who is one of Australia's foremost graphic designers. Lynda has designed other stamps for Australia Post including Outback Services (2001), Australian Antarctic Research (2002) and Aviation in the AAT (2005).

Australia Issued these stamps for 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Commencing with the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games during the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, stamps featuring Australians who have won an Olympic gold medal are issued on the next postal business day after the achievement.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mexico : 2008 Beijing Olympic Stamps (Country#50)

My growing collection of 2008 Beijing Olympic stamps. Untill now I have Stamps and covers from 50 Countries. Still missing almost 100 Countries.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Arab Stamps : 2008 Beijing Olympics

My 2008 Beijing Olympics Collection
Syria :

Tunisia :

Libya :

Morocco :

Jordan :  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Visit to : 2ed Sharjah Arabian Stamp Exhibition 2011

Today visited The second Sharjah Arabian Stamp Exhibition. It will opened at Mega Mall in Sharjah untill 22.10.2011, with the focus this year on the GCC.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Spanish Football Stamps 2011

Out of all the sporting achievements by Spanish athletes in recent years, a special mention must be made to those accomplished by the Spanish National Football Team in 2008 and 2010, and the interest this sport arises in society. For this reason two five stamp souvenir sheets are issued on 19th Sep 2011 depicting the milestones in the history of the National Team from the introduction of football in Spain up until the 2010 World Championships Football was introduced from England into Spain, in the late 18th –early 19th century. However, the national team as we know it today, made its debut in 1920 in Brussels on occasion of the VII Olympiad.
From then on, and up till its success in the World Championship in 2010, almost a hundred years later, the history of the National Team has had its ups and downs in its sporting achievements. The milestones in its history are the historical goals by Zarra, Marcelino, Torres and Iniesta, and those players who have become true football symbols such as Pichichi, Zarra and Ricardo Zamora.Amongst its biggest triumphs are the UEFA Eurocup in 1964, the Olympics in 1992, the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 World Cup.The ten stamps depict both the relevant scenarios that have accompanied the greatest achievements and the characters in the history of the National Team looked upon as symbols of national football.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Slovenia Stamps : 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Medal Winnes

Post of Slovenia issued Commemorative stamps on 24 June 2010, which will pay tribute to two Slovene Olympic medal winners in Vancouver – Tina Maze and Petra Majdič. The two silver and bronze medals won by them represent the most remarkable achievement that Slovene sportswomen ever produced.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

China : 2008 Beijing Olympic Venues

China Agricultural University Gymnasium :
The China Agricultural University Gymnasium (simplified Chinese: 中国农业大学体育馆; traditional Chinese: 中國農業大學體育館; pinyin: Zhōngguó Nóngyè Dàxué Tǐyùguǎn) is an indoor arena located on the campus of the China Agricultural University in Beijing. It hosted the wrestling events of the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Gymnasium's rooftop has a staggered, stair-like design.
It covers an area of 23,950 square metres and has a capacity of 8,200 which will be reduced to 6000. It will also be turned into a sports complex for students of the China Agricultural University after the Olympic Games.
Construction started the first half of 2005 and was completed in July 2007.

Laoshan Mountain Bike Course :
The Laoshan Mountain Bike Course (simplified Chinese: 老山山地自行车场; traditional Chinese: 老山山地自行車場; pinyin: Lǎoshān Shāndì Zìxíngchē Chǎng) is a mountain bike cycling venue located in western Beijing, China adjacent to the Laoshan Velodrome. It began its renovation and expansion program in May 2006.
The course hosted the mountain bike competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The project involves a competition course of 4.6 kilometres in circumference, a fixed building with a floor space of 8,275 square metres, a temporary spectator stand that seats 2,000 and other temporary facilities for competitions.
The project was completed in the second half of 2007 and became a training base for the Chinese cycling team. It was also opened to the public after the 2008 Games.

Peking University Gymnasium:
Peking University Gymnasium (simplified Chinese: 北京大学体育馆; traditional Chinese: 北京大學體育館; pinyin: Běijīng Dàxué Tǐyùguǎn), nicknamed China's Spine (simplified Chinese: 中国脊; traditional Chinese: 中國脊; pinyin: Zhōngguó Jǐ), is an indoor arena located in the southeastern part of Peking University in Beijing, China.
The gymnasium was constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics and hosted the table tennis events of the 2008 Summer Olympics and the Paralympics. The gymnasium is the first in the world specifically designed for table tennis.
The gymnasium has a floor space of 26,900 m², 6,000 permanent seats and 2,000 temporary seats. It was completed in August 2007.

National Indoor Stadium :
The Beijing National Indoor Stadium, also known as the National Indoor Stadium (simplified Chinese: 国家体育馆; traditional Chinese: 國家體育館; pinyin: Guójiā Tǐyùguǎn), is an indoor arena that is located in the Olympic Green in Beijing, China. The stadium was constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics. It is nicknamed the Fan (扇子, shānzi) due to its design resembling a traditional Chinese folding fan.
The stadium opened its doors on November 26, 2007 for the artistic Gymnastics test event.
At the 2008 Olympics, it hosted the Artistic Gymnastics, Trampolining, and Handball events. After the Olympics, the stadium can be used for sports competition, cultural and entertaining purposes, and will serve as a multi-functional exercise center for local residents.
The stadium has a capacity of 18,000 people.

National Aquatics Center :
The Beijing National Aquatics Center (simplified Chinese: 北京国家游泳中心; traditional Chinese: 北京國家游泳中心), also officially known as the National Aquatics Center, and colloquially known as the Water Cube (Chinese: 水立方), is an aquatics center that was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Despite its nickname, the building is not an actual cube, but a cuboid (a rectangular box). Ground was broken on December 24, 2003, and the Center was completed and handed over for use on January 28, 2008. Swimmers at the Water Cube broke 25 world records during the 2008 Olympics.
After the Olympics, the building underwent a 200 million Yuan revamp to turn half of its interior into a water park. The building officially re-opened on August 8, 2010

Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center :
The Qingdao International Sailing Centre (simplified Chinese: 青岛奥林匹克帆船中心; traditional Chinese: 青島奧林匹克帆船中心; pinyin: Qīngdǎo Àolínpǐkè Fānchuán Zhōngxīn) is a sailing marina located on the former site of the Beihai Shipyard by Qingdao's Fushan Bay at Shandong Province in China. It was constructed for the 2008 Summer Olympics. It hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Sailing competitions. Wind conditions vary greatly from very light winds to +15knots. During the Olympic competitions, fog was also an occasional factor.
The venue hosted “Good Luck Beijing - 2006" and in May 2008, the IFDS Qingdao International Regatta, where Olympic and Paralympic sailors got a headstart on familiarizing themselves with the venue and weather conditions.

Slovenia : 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist

Primož Kozmus (born September 30, 1979 in Novo Mesto) is a Slovenian hammer thrower and the current Olympic champion. His gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the 2009 World Championships in Berlin made him the first ever Slovenian athlete to win both titles.
His personal best throw and Slovenian record is 82.58 metres, achieved in September 2009 in Celje, Slovenia.
On 8 October 2009, Kozmus unexpectedly announced his temporary retirement from athletics. On 25 October 2010, he announced his return. After moderate achievements in the 2011 season, Kozmus stated his goal at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics was to place in the top eight in the finals. Still, he won bronze with 79.39 m.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Slovakia Stamp: 2010 Winter Olympic Games Vancouver

Tehnical details: Issue number: 468
Date of Issue: 15. 01. 2010
Face value: 1 €
Dimensions: 40,4 x 27,2 mm
Layout/Format: TL
Stamps per TL: 50
Number in set: 1
Stamp designer: Peter Uchnár
Printer: Poštovní tiskárna cenin Praha, a. s.
Print technology: Offset
FDC designer: Peter Uchnár
FDC engraver: Arnold Feke
Cancellation design: Peter Uchnár
FDC Printer: TAB, s. r. o., Bratislava
FDC Print technology: WAITE

Friday, October 7, 2011

Liechtenstien Stamps: Winter Olympic Games Vancouver 2010

By longstanding tradition Liechtenstein issues special series of stamps for each Winter and Summer Olympic Games. What started in 1964 with the first official Liechtenstein Olympic stamp, on which the flags of the two host countries Austria (Innsbruck – Winter) and Japan (Tokyo – Summer) were jointly featured, has been regularly continued since the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and will be continued this year too to mark the XXI Winter Games in Vancouver (Canada). As for last year’s Olympic stamp (Peking 2008), for this series too an artist from the country hosting the Games has been sought and found. Mark Heine is the Canadian artist entrusted with the task of supplying the artwork for this series and has created two large-format dynamic oil paintings, the first showing a downhill racer in the Alpine Skiing programme (face value CHF 1.00) and the second a cross-country skier in the Nordic Skiing programme (face value CHF 1.80). The sportsmen are shown in the new kit, which when the stamps were printed was still completely unknown to the general public. These outfits are intended to enable Liechtenstein’s winter athletes to continue the great successes of earlier years and perhaps help to bring about another sporting triumph. The time is surely ripe. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Dasara (Happy Dassehra & Vijayadashmi)

Dussehra is a popular festival celebrated by Hindus all over India, albeit with different names. It is also known as Vijayadashmi ('Vijay' meaning 'victory' and 'Dashmi meaning 'tenth day), as it is believed that it was on this day that Lord Rama killed the demon-king, Ravana and rescued his abducted wife - Sita. In other words, it signifies the triumph of good over evil. The legendary triumph is reenacted to the day. In the northern parts of India, huge effigies of Ravana, his giant brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnath are placed in vast open grounds. Fireworks and crackers are placed inside the effigies.
Actors dressed as Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana enact the final moments of the battle, at the Ramlila ground. After the enactment of the climax of the war with Ravana, the character playing Rama shoots an arrow with a flaming tip at the effigies from a safe distance and the crowd bursts up in cheer, as the crackers catch fire. The enthusiasm and the cheers sometimes even drown the deafening blast. Merriment ensues, as people indulge themselves games, dance and music that are held at the fair.
Bengalis celebrate Dusshera as a part of their main festival - Durga Puja. This day marks the end of Durga Pooja celebrations, the preceding nine days being collectively referred to as 'Navratri'. Vijayadashmi is dedicated to Mother Goddess Shakti, who incarnated in the form of Goddess Durga, a combined manifestation of the divine energies of the Holy Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and all the other devatas, when they summoned her to kill the mighty demon known as Mahishasura and freed the world from his terror.
On Vijayadashmi, the idols of Goddess Durga are immersed into water, after the nine days of festivities. It is said that the people of the earth in the eastern state of West Bengal adopted Durga as their daughter and thus, she visits the home of her parents every year, during the last four days of Navratri, along with her sons Ganesha and Kartikeya, and daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati. She finally leaves for her husband's place on Vijayadashmi. Similar customs are seen in Orissa and Assam. In the North-eastern state of Tripura, huge fairs are conducted and effigies of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkarna are burnts at Ramlila maidans.

In the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Vijayadashmi holds special significance. The day is considered auspicious for starting education or any form of art, such as dance and music. Saraswati Puja is conducted on the day, when the formal commencement of education of small kids takes place. It is called 'Vidya aarambham' (the beginning of Vidya, meaning education). In Karnataka (especially Mysore) and Andhra Pradesh, Dusshera is celebrated with fanfare. Huge processions can be witnessed in both the States. Although Dussehra is celebrated in different ways across India, the motive remains the same - to spread good cheer and celebrate the victory of good over the evil.