A guide to World Post Day

World Post Day - yes it actually exists - is commemorated every year on October 9. The date marks the anniversary of the founding of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874, in the Swiss capital Berne. World Post Day was introduced 1969 at the UPU Congress in Tokyo, Japan to celebrate the importance of the postal service.

The day raises awareness of the role the postal service plays in the everyday lives of individuals and businesses across the world. The UPU explains: "The celebration encourages member countries to undertake programme activities aimed at generating a broader awareness of their Post's role and activities among the public and media on a national scale."

Around 150 countries take part in the global event and many celebrate with exhibitions, activities or commemorative stamps. Postal services around the world use the date to launch or promote new products and services, with many issuing a special cancellation mark to celebrate. Some postal companies even give their employees the day off!

Celebrations around the world

The UPU is made up of members of the United Nations and specially voted in non-UN countries. Although a UN country, the UK is not a part of the UPU.

This year Hong Kong is allowing people to send one free personal letter on the day, to encourage them to express their feelings and appreciation to their loved ones in writing! In the USA, meanwhile, the Smithsonian National Post Museum will host a meeting of the Mail Social Club where there will be mail workshops and passionate experts on hand to share their skills and love of the post.

Express yourself in writing

Each year the UPU Director General announces the theme for the year. This event will focus on the role of music in communication, which was reflected in the theme for the annual letter writing competition for young people around the world. The task was to 'write a letter describing how music can touch lives'.

The UPU described the importance of its competition: "The competition is an excellent way of making young people aware of the important role postal services play in our societies, develops their skills in composition and the ability to express their thoughts clearly, fosters their enjoyment of letter writing, and helps strengthen the bonds of international friendship - one of the basic missions of the UPU."

For philatelists - those with a passion for stamps and postal history - World Post Day really is like Christmas! Whatever your location, why not celebrate the occasion by sending someone a letter or parcel on October 9?

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