All About the US Postal Service Islamic Holiday Stamp

The Eid Stamp Commemorates Two Main Islamic Holy Days

Cost Of U.S. First Class Postage Stamps Rises To 44 Cents
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In the summer of 2001, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) began sales of the first postage stamp honoring the country's Muslims. There are 3.3 million Muslims living in the United States. This stamp was issued to commemorate the two main Islamic holy days. It is known as the "Eid stamp."

Details About the Eid Stamp

The most recent Eid stamp was released in 2016 as a "forever" stamp, which currently costs 49 cents. The stamp commemorates the two most important festivals—or eids—in the Islamic calendar: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. To the right of the script, a stylized olive branch rendered in gold carries connotations of abundance, family, hospitality, and peace. The background color is a rich purple.

Eid is a generic Arabic term that means "holiday" or "festival." Islam recognizes two holy days, specifically known as Eid al-Fitr, or the festival of fast-breaking at the end of Ramadan, and Eid al-Adha, known as the festival of sacrifice.

The script reads Eidukum mubarak, “May your Eid be bountiful (or blessed).” The calligraphy on previous Eid stamps issued by the USPS has read Eid mubarak, “may the religious holiday be blessed,” with the “your” implied, but the artist added the word to this new stamp to give the text more body within a horizontal frame.

“The script is the same as on the previous stamps, but elongated and simplified,” says artist Mohamed Zakariya, who explains that he used a script known in Arabic as thuluth and in Turkish as sulus, “the choice script for a complex composition due to its open proportions and sense of balance.”

About the Artist and Art Director

The artwork for the stamps was done by renowned Muslim American calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya of Arlington, Virginia. As he has with all previous Eid stamps, Zakariya employed traditional methods and instruments to create this design. 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. The black-and-white design was then colorized by computer.

Ethel Kessler of Kessler Design Group is an art director for USPS. According to Kessler, it has been her primary goal to educate and delight consumers and stamp collectors with “America’s Story." To date, more than 250 stamps have been art directed under the leadership of Kessler and released by the USPS. 

Different Versions of the Stamp

The stamps were originally issued in 34-cent domestic rate, with gold calligraphy, blue background and the words "Eid Greetings." In 2011, the calligraphy was changed to a teardrop design, and the stamp was re-issued with a red background. In 2013, it was released as a forever stamp with the same calligraphy but was changed to a green background.

Anti-Muslim Rumors

Around the time of the first release of the stamps in 2001, anti-Muslim groups circulated false email rumors.

Facts about the stamp series include:

  • The design of the stamps pre-dates the 9/11 attacks.
  • The stamps do not "honor" terrorism.
  • The stamps were not issued at the behest of President Obama.
  • The stamp is part of the Postal Services' "Holiday" stamp series, which recognizes the holidays of various faith and cultural traditions, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year and Cinco de Mayo.

Kaleidoscope Flowers Stamps

In 2013, the USPS issued a series of stamps called "Kaleidoscope Flowers," which were falsely connected to Islam and Islamic holidays. While they in some ways resemble Islamic art, they were designed by graphic designers Petra and Nicole Kapitza as part of the USPS floral stamp tradition.

Purchase of Eid Stamps

The self-adhesive Eid stamps can be purchased by inquiring at your local post office. If they are not in stock, ask the local post office to place an order. Also, the stamps can be purchased online from the U.S. Postal Service. For more information, call 1-800-STAMP-24, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.