Sunday Stamps: Kiwi fruit on Kiwi stamp

For this week’s Sunday Stamps with the theme countries in the Southern Hemisphere, I present a New Zealand stamp.

New Zealand’s iconic kiwi fruit took centre stage in 2006 when it adorned a stamp as part of a larger campaign to promote healthy eating among Kiwi children. The 5+ A Day The Colour Way initiative aimed to instill the importance of consuming at least five servings of colourful fruits and vegetables daily young New Zealanders.

The stamp, featuring fresh kiwi slices, was a playful and engaging way to capture the attention of children. New Zealand Post’s commitment to this initiative helped spread awareness about the benefits of healthy eating among the nation’s young people. By making healthy eating fun and accessible, the campaign hoped to empower Kiwi children to make informed choices about their diet. With initiatives like this, New Zealand is investing in the health and well-being of its future generations.

Here is the complete set:

Thursday Postcards Hunt: A Tale of Two Cathedrals

Lithuania, a Baltic gem, boasts a rich history woven into its stunning architecture. Nowhere is this more evident than in Vilnius, where two extraordinary cathedrals stand side by side, each with its own captivating story.

First, we have the St. Anne’s Church (below, left), a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Constructed entirely from 33 different types of brick, its unique and stunning facade is a marvel captivating visitors for centuries. Its intricate details and delicate spires have earned it comparisons to a fairytale castle. Often described as “flamboyant Gothic”, its beauty was so renowned that Napoleon Bonaparte famously wished to transport it to France “in the palm of his hand”. Thankfully, for Lithuania, this ambitious plan remained unrealized. (His hands weren’t big enough. Just kidding.)

Directly behind St. Anne’s (right) stands the imposing St. Bernardine’s Church. A larger and more spacious structure, it transitioned from Gothic origins to embrace Renaissance and Baroque elements, reflecting the architectural tastes of the 17th and 18th centuries. Uniquely, this cathedral played a defensive role in Vilnius’ history. The cathedral’s scale was such that it was incorporated into the city’s 16th century defensive wall. It featured strategic shooting openings, transforming the sacred space into a formidable stronghold.

Sadly, the cathedral’s role as a religious sanctuary was tragically interrupted during the tumultuous Soviet rule when it was repurposed as a warehouse. However, with Lithuania’s independence in 1994, St. Bernardine’s was returned to the Franciscan order and restored to its former glory.

The stamps at the back of the postcard – on the right, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Virgin Mary’s apparition in Šiluva, a significant religious site, and on the left, a part of a series with holidays and celebrations as theme, provide a glimpse into Lithuania’s heritage. And let’s not forget the creatively handwritten message itself – it adds a personal touch makes it even more special.

But why are these churches built next to each other? It’s been said that the close relationship between the two religious orders – the Brotherhood of St. Anne and the Bernardine Monks – is the sole reason to build their places of worship adjacent to each other and allowed them to share resources, community, and a stronger religious presence in the city. This is a widely accepted historical fact, often presented as general knowledge in historical and architectural texts about Vilnius.

Sunday Stamps: Let’s Talk Pinoy Komiks Superheroes

Hey fellow stamp enthusiasts! This week’s Sunday Stamps takes us on a trip to my homeland, the Philippines, one of the countries in the mighty Eastern Hemisphere. The Philippines first competed in the 1924 Olympics held in Paris, making us the first country in Southeast Asia to compete, and later, in 1928, win medal. This year, 22 Filipino athletes will compete in nine sports: athletics, boxing, fencing, golf, gymnastics, judo, rowing, swimming, and weightlifting.

On to today’s stamp: Today’s star is a First Day Cover featuring none other than one of the iconic komiks (comics) superheroes of the Philippines! Back in 2004, the Philippine Post issued stamps dedicated to these “Great Achievers in Philippine Art (Comics Illustrators)”. Let me tell you, when I saw my favorite komiks heroes plastered on stamps, it was like a childhood dream come true! Big thanks to my good friend, Myron, for this awesome FDC!

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. The left side of the envelope showcases some legendary Pinoy comics superheroes:

  • Dyesebel: The coolest mermaid you’ll ever meet (sorry, Ariel). ‍
  • Kulafu: Our very own Tarzan swinging through the Filipino jungle.
  • Lapu-Lapu: A true legend – a superhero inspired by the real-life hero who defeated Spanish invaders way back when. 🇵🇭

Flashback to 2010! This Darna first day cover was originally featured on my Postcards Crossing blog. Here’s to the iconic Pinoy superhero! (For those new to Darna, I’ve added some details about her in the post!)

But the main attraction (and rightfully so) is on the right! We have the one, the only, Darna, the OG superheroine of Philippine komiks, and the most popular Filipino superhero ever. Created by the amazing Mars Ravelo and brought to life by the legendary Nestor Redondo (who even went on to work for DC and Marvel in the 70s and 80s), Darna first graced the pages of Pilipino Komiks in 1950 and she’s been a Filipino pop culture icon ever since.

Created originally as “Varga” in 1947 by Mars Ravelo, she was recreated as Darna in 1950 due to fallout with his publisher. According to the Manila Times , “DARNA is a cultural icon born at a time when the Philippines was struggling to come out of the devastation of World War II. She served as a salve to a country looking for a champion.”

Growing up, everyone knew Darna as the Pinoy Wonder Woman. Superpowers, fighting evil, rocking that awesome outfit – they are practically twins! Turns out, there’s a bit more to her story. Darna is actually more like a Filipino Captain Marvel – a super-powered warrior from planet Marte who appears on Earth through an ordinary girl named Narda and a magic white stone. Intriguing, right? You can learn more about this fascinating character [here].

Darna’s legacy goes beyond comics, with movies and TV shows launching the careers of countless Filipino actresses. But for me, nothing beats the classic komiks experience. I was practically reading these things before I was in the first grade! Fun fact: a lot of my early 80s contemporaries learned to read through komiks.

Did you have any favourite comic books/superheroes growing up? Share in the comment!