WASHINGTON DC- Across the country and around the world, a birthday is a welcome occasion for celebration and fun. Featuring the U.S. Postal Service’s first new Happy Birthday design in over a decade, this stamp offers a chance to give envelopes and cards an extra bit of good cheer. It is on sale today in post offices across the country and in the online postal store.
The celebration of birthdays in the United States has its origins in a wide range of cultural traditions. Some ancient civilizations observed the birthdays of important people or celebrated rites of passage, and wishes and gifts have long been associated with good fortune. Folklorists and historians claim to see the origins of birthday parties in older practices that resemble our customs, such as candles on a cake, which existed in one form or another in ancient Greece and the early Modern Germany. When we come together to sing, brighten our spirits with candles, and make a wish, these deep-rooted rituals connect us to our loved ones and invite everyone to share in the birthday fun.
The U.S. Postal Service issued its first Happy Birthday stamp in 1987, when a stamp depicting a candle on a slice of cake was part of a special occasion booklet that reflected a variety of greetings and wishes. In 1988, a second special occasion booklet included a Happy Birthday stamp that featured a colorful row of candles. Birthdays re-emerged as a topic on U.S. postage in 2002 with the issue of a stamp bearing the words “Happy Birthday” amid a handful of festive confetti.
In the years that followed, the Postal Service issued several holiday-themed stamps. This new Happy Birthday stamp offers another way for the public to convey good wishes on the recipient’s special day.
The word “HAPPY” appears most prominently in all caps, with each of the five letters inspired by a different party decoration: a red and green piñata, an orange and yellow striped birthday hat, a piece of frosted red cake, a green birthday candle, and an orange balloon sculpture. The word “BIRTHDAY” appears below in blue, with “Forever” and “USA” centered in smaller red letters at the bottom. Surrounding all the design elements is a flurry of multicolored ribbons and confetti.
This stamp was designed by Lisa Catalone Castro and Rodolfo Castro, with artwork by Rodolfo Castro. Ethel Kessler served as artistic director.
The Happy Birthday stamp is issued as a Forever stamp, the value of which is always equal to the current price of 1 ounce of first class mail.