by Dulshan Ellawela
Many may not be writing letters and posting them these days due to the advent of emails and text messages. However, there is a generation who still awaits the postman and it is in this connection that October 9 celebrates the 149th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), while commemorating the 149th World Post Day on the theme ‘Together for Trust: Collaborating for a safe and connected future’.
The aim of the UPU founded in 1874 with its headquarters in Bern, Switzerland, was to establish regulatory policies to govern the interchange of international mail. Initially serving only 21 member countries, the UPU effectively addressed various international mail delivery issues and subsequently underwent transformation into a specialised agency within the United Nations in 1947, with a membership of 191 countries. World Post Day was proclaimed during the UPU Congress held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1969.
The stamps issued by then Ceylon as part of the Omnibus Collection
Commemorating the founding of the UPU, a set of three stamps was issued on its silver jubilee in Switzerland in 1900. An allegorical design symbolising communication adorns these stamps.
In 1949, the Omnibus Collection to mark the 75th anniversary of the UPU was issued. It is the most comprehensive and standardised compilation ever published with 310 stamps from 84 Commonwealth countries and Crown colonies. This issue was the second iteration that did not serve as a commemoration of a royal anniversary.
UPU’s stamp issued on this year’s theme
That year, Ceylon issued three stamps, with the Sri Lanka Postal Department initiating the issuance of new stamps to commemorate the UPU.
Several nations such as Bahrain, Eastern Arabia and Kuwait, meanwhile, had adopted a strategy of utilising British stamps through the process of overprinting. In contrast, Australia and South Africa have independently formulated their own designs.
Last year, with the UPU theme being ‘Post for Planet’, posters in green – linked to nature and symbolising growth and rejuvenation – were released to promote public awareness. Denoting new beginnings, several countries including Sri Lanka, released many stamps.
While on the 100th anniversary of the UPU, Sri Lanka issued a stamp with the wording “Union Postale Universelle” in French, last year the stamp issued was very green in keeping with the environment of the planet. This year too Sri Lanka is scheduled to issue a stamp to mark Post Day.
Source: 8th October 2023 Sunday Times