A Year of “A Stamp A Day”

1 Year of A Stamp A Day - Canada 150 and Thai National Scout Day

1 Year of A Stamp A Day – Canada 150 and Thai National Scout Day

Today marks the first anniversary of this endeavor of mine, an attempt to take a single stamp each and every day and provide a detailed account of the issuing entity’s political and postal history as well as describing whatever is portrayed upon the chosen stamp. In the past 365 days, I have published 368 entries to this blog — the majority of stamps selected, issuers researched, and articles compiled each day, one by one. Mostly, I’ve been following an alphabetical format (and we are nearly to the end of “S”) with occasional diversions to commemorate various holidays, historical events, and notable individuals. The articles have, more often than not, been quite lengthy as I attempt to “fit everything in”.  “A Stamp A Day” also features an index page which I try to update once or twice each month which lists each entity and the stamps I’ve included during the course of the blog.

There are days that are difficult for me to keep up the pace but I still, somehow, find the time and motivation. Work does take precedence — I’m an English teacher in southern Thailand — but it is a nice respite from students and administration when I can spend a couple of hours at some point each day working on the blog and, by extension, some aspect of philately each and every day.  This truly is a labor of love for myself and I’m learning a lot as I go along. I hope those of you who follow this blog are learning something as well.  When I make mistakes, please feel free to let me know!

Of course, some stamp-issuing entities are easier to compile information about than others. I find some of the African colonies, protectorates, etc. particularly difficult to make sense of. There are days that I don’t want to write about the country that is next in the alphabetical order and then search for some historic event instead. Often, there are events or people I would love to create an article for but don’t have a single appropriate stamp to provide illustrations for. When that occurs, I go onto eBay and find one to use for “next year”.

Today isn’t one of those days where I have no stamps to illustrate the date. In fact, there are a number of different anniversaries that occur on July 1st. I have stamps marking most of these. Rather than limiting today’s entry to just one stamp, I’ve decided to mark two of the events by illustrating several stamps for each.

Confederation of Canada

Canada #135 (1917)

Canada #135 (1917)

Canada #142 (1927)

Canada #142 (1927)

United States #1324 (1967)

United States #1324 (1967)

July 1 is Canada Day (Fête du Canada) is the national day of Canada. A federal statutory holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. Originally called Dominion Day (Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day celebrations take place throughout the country, as well as in various locations around the world, attended by Canadians living abroad. This year is especially momentous as it is the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation (Confédération canadienne). Although Canada existed prior to 1867, within both the French and British empires, Canada Day is frequently referred to as “Canada’s birthday”, particularly in the popular press.

Canada Day is the anniversary of only one important national milestone on the way to the country’s full independence, namely the joining on July 1, 1867, of the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada into a wider British federation of four provinces (the colony of Canada being divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec upon Confederation). Canada became a “kingdom in its own right” within the British Empire named the Dominion of Canada. Although still a British dominion, Canada gained an increased level of political control and governance over its own affairs, although the British parliament and Cabinet still maintained political control over certain areas such as foreign affairs, national defense, and constitutional changes. Canada gradually gained increasing independence over the years, notably with the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, until finally becoming completely independent with the passing of the 1982 Constitution Act which served to fully patriate the Canadian constitution. Over the years since Confederation, Canada has seen numerous territorial changes and expansions, resulting in the current union of ten provinces and three territories.

Under the federal Holidays Act, Canada Day is observed on July 1, unless that date falls on a Sunday, in which case July 2 is the statutory holiday. Celebratory events will generally still take place on July 1, even though it is not the legal holiday. If it falls on a Saturday, any businesses normally closed that day will usually dedicate the following Monday (July 3) as a day off.

The enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), was celebrated on July 1, 1867, with the ringing of the bells at the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto and “bonfires, fireworks and illuminations, excursions, military displays and musical and other entertainments”, as described in contemporary accounts. On June 20 of the following year, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to celebrate the anniversary of Confederation, However, the holiday was not established statutorily until May 15, 1879, when it was designated as Dominion Day, alluding to the reference in the British North America Act to the country as a dominion. The holiday was initially not dominant in the national calendar; any celebrations were mounted by local communities and the governor general hosted a party at Rideau Hall. No larger celebrations were held until 1917 and then none again for a further decade — the golden and diamond anniversaries of Confederation, respectively.

In 1946, Philéas Côté, a Quebec member of the House of Commons, introduced a private member’s bill to rename Dominion Day as Canada Day. The bill was passed quickly by the lower chamber, but was stalled by the Senate, which returned it to the commons with the recommendation that the holiday be renamed The National Holiday of Canada, an amendment that effectively killed the bill.

Beginning in 1958, the Canadian government began to orchestrate Dominion Day celebrations. That year, then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker requested that Secretary of State Ellen Fairclough put together appropriate events, with a budget of $14,000. Parliament was traditionally in session on July 1, but Fairclough persuaded Diefenbaker and the rest of the federal Cabinet to attend. Official celebrations thereafter consisted usually of Trooping the Colour ceremonies on Parliament Hill in the afternoon and evening, followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display. Fairclough, who became Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, later expanded the bills to include performing folk and ethnic groups. The day also became more casual and family oriented.

Canada’s centennial in 1967 is often seen as an important milestone in the history of Canadian nationalism and in Canada’s maturing as a distinct, independent country, after which Dominion Day became more popular with average Canadians. Into the late 1960s, nationally televised, multi-cultural concerts held in Ottawa were added and the fête became known as Festival Canada. After 1980, the Canadian government began to promote celebrating Dominion Day beyond the national capital, giving grants and aid to cities across the country to help fund local activities.

Some Canadians were, by the early 1980s, informally referring to the holiday as Canada Day, a practice that caused some controversy. Proponents argued that the name Dominion Day was a holdover from the colonial era, an argument given some impetus by the patriation of the Canadian constitution in 1982, and others asserted that an alternative was needed as the term does not translate well into French. The holiday was officially renamed as a result of a private member’s bill that was passed through the House of Commons on July 9, 1982, two years after its first reading. Only 12 Members of Parliament were present when the bill was taken up again, eight less than the necessary quorum; however, according to parliamentary rules, the quorum is enforceable only at the start of a sitting or when a member calls attention to it. The group passed the bill in five minutes, without debate, inspiring “grumblings about the underhandedness of the process”. With the granting of Royal Assent, the holiday’s name was officially changed to Canada Day on October 27, 1982.

Since then, lobby groups and politicians have occasionally campaigned to have it returned to Dominion Day. In 1996, Reform Party of Canada MP Stephen Harper introduced a private member’s bill to reinstate the name. It was defeated. In 2012, Conservative MP Brad Trost made a speech in the House of Commons advocating for the reinstatement of the Dominion Day name.

As the anniversary of Confederation, Dominion Day, and later Canada Day, was the date set for a number of important events, such as Canada’s joining the Universal Postal Union in 1878; the first national radio network hookup by the Canadian National Railway in 1927; the inauguration of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s cross-country television broadcast, with Governor General Vincent Massey’s Dominion Day speech from Parliament Hill in 1958; the flooding of the Saint Lawrence Seaway also in 1958; the first color television transmission in Canada (1966); the inauguration of the Order of Canada in 1967; and the establishment of “O Canada” as the country’s national anthem (1980). Other events fell on the same day coincidentally, such as the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916 — shortly after which Newfoundland recognized July 1 as Memorial Day to commemorate the Newfoundland Regiment’s heavy losses during the battle — and the enactment of the Chinese Immigration Act in 1923 — leading Chinese-Canadians to refer to July 1 as Humiliation Day and boycott Dominion Day celebrations until the act was repealed in 1947.

A number of stamps have been issued commemorating the Confederation and of Canada Day itself.

Canada’s Scott #135, a 3-cent brown commemorative, was released on September 15, 1917, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. The design features Canadian artist Robert Harris’ 1884 famous painting, “Conference at Québec in 1864, to settle the basics of a union of the British North American Provinces”, also known as “The Fathers of Confederation”. The original painting hung in the central block of the Parliament Building in Ottawa, and it was completely destroyed by a fire there in 1916. Only photographs of the original work remain. The painting is actually somewhat of an enigma. The figures in the painting are a composite of the delegates that attended the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864. Perforated 12, it was printed by the American Bank Note Company in Ottawa.

Photo taken by James Ashfield in 1885 of the 1884 painting "The Fathers of Confederation" by Robert Harris. The original painting was destroyed in the 1916 Parliament Buildings fire. This image is available from Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number C-001855 and under the MIKAN ID number 3194982.

Photo taken by James Ashfield in 1885 of the 1884 painting “The Fathers of Confederation” by Robert Harris. The original painting was destroyed in the 1916 Parliament Buildings fire. This image is available from Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number C-001855 and under the MIKAN ID number 3194982.

Ten years later, on June 29, 1927, a set of five commemoratives were by Canada issued to mark the 60th anniversary of the Confederation. The 2-cent value, Scott #142, depicts the exact same painting as seen on the earlier stamp! This time around, the stamp was printed in green by the Canadian Bank Note Company and perforated 12.

The United States marked the centennial of the Confederation by releasing Scott #1324 on May 25, 1967, in Montreal, Canada. This was the first U.S. stamp to have first day ceremonies and cancellation on foreign soil. One hundred and thirty-two million, forty-five thousand copies of he 5-cent stamp were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on the Giori press and perforated 11.

Canadian Red Ensign, 1868-1921

Canadian Red Ensign, 1868-1921

Canadian Red Ensign, 1921-1965

Canadian Red Ensign, 1921-1965

Flag of Canada, adopted February 21, 1965

Flag of Canada, adopted February 21, 1965

Coat of Arms of Canada, 1868

Coat of Arms of Canada, 1868

Coat of Arms of Canada, 1994

Coat of Arms of Canada, 1994

National Scout Organization Foundation Day /วันสถาปนาลูกเสือแห่งชาติ

Thailand #587 (1971)

Thailand #587 (1971)

Thailand #832 (1977)

Thailand #832 (1977)

Scouting was first introduced in Thailand on July 1, 1911, by King Rama VI, who is known as the Father of Thai Scouting. Thailand claims to be the third country in the world to establish Scouting, but it was more likely fourth. King Rama VI brought back the idea of Scouting from Great Britain where he studied. July 1 in Thailand is officially called National Scout Organization Foundation Day (วันสถาปนาลูกเสือแห่งชาติ — Wan Sathapana Luksuea Haeng Chat), but is usually referred to as National Scout Day and is marked by parades at schools throughout the Kingdom.

King Rama VI formed the Wild Tiger Corps — a paramilitary militia modeled on the British Volunteer Force, which the king had observed during his time in England studying at Oxford and Sandhurst. The name was a homage to a scouting corps founded by the Ayutthaya King Nareusan around 1600.

The Wild Tigers were drawn from all levels of society, including commoners, and espoused the principles of meritocracy, discipline and mass education. While the king was keen to emphasize that the Wild Tigers were meant to augment, not replace, the regular armed forces, his devotion to the corps and his socialization with them led to resentment in both the regular army and the aristocracy. This resentment lead to Thailand’s first ever attempted military coup. Although the coup failed, it did inspire the successful revolution ending the absolute monarchy in 1932.

After the attempted coup, the Wild Tigers were quietly disbanded.

It was the junior wing of the Wild Tigers that was based on the Boy Scout movement. This was called the Tiger Cubs. Although the Tiger Cubs got off to a rocky start, they eventually survived the disbanding of the Wild Tigers and became an established Scouting organization. It was among the charter members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1922

Today, the National Scout Organization of Thailand (คณะลูกเสือแห่งชาติ — Khana Luksuea Haeng Chat) is regulated by the Scouting Act, BE 2551 (2008) and has 828,248 members (as of 2013). It is open to both boys and girls.

Abhai Chandavimol served on the World Scout Committee of the World Organization of the Scout Movement from 1965 to 1971. Five Thais have been honored with the Bronze Wolf, the highest distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded for exceptional services to Scouting: Abhai Chandavimol (1971), Chitra Dansuputra (1976), Kong Visudharomn (1980), Bhethai Amatayakul (1984), and the late king His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej (2006).

Although Scouting is part of the school program in Thailand, especially for grades 6-8, it is not actually mandatory. Options do exist for participation in other youth programs, such as the Thai Red Cross; however, the vast majority of Thai youth participate in Scouting. Scouts wear their Scout uniforms to school once a week, though which day of the week is set by the local schools.

Primary grades 1-3 (Prathom 1-3) comprise Cub Scouts, ages 7-9. This is followed by Scouts in grades 4-6 (ages 10-12) and Senior Scouts in grades 7-9 (Secondary or Mathyom 1-3, ages 13-15). Additionally, Youths can continue with Rovers in grade 10 (Maythom 4) and participate from ages 16 until 25. Sea Scouts are supported by the Royal Thai Navy and Air Scouts by the Royal Thai Air Force, the members of which run the same age ranges as the Rovers.

The King of Thailand is the organization’s Chief Scout. The award of King Scout is available to Senior Scouts and is the Thai equivalent of American Scouting’s Eagle Scout award. The membership badge of The National Scout Organization of Thailand features the head of a tiger and carries the Scout Motto of “Better to die than to lie” (เสียชีพอย่าเสียสัตย์ — sia chip ya sia sat).

A number of stamps have been released in Thailand honoring the Scouts, including a number of semi-postals that were designed to raise funds for the Wild Tiger Corps and its Scouting Fund. The 60th anniversary of Thai Boy Scouts was marked by a single commemorative released on July 1, 1971. Scott #587 is a 50-satang lithographed stamp featuring Their Majesties the King and Queen in Scouting uniforms, saluting. The late King Bhumibol Adulyadej is also seen wearing a Scout uniform on Scott #832, released on November 21, 1977, to mark the opening of the 9th Thai National Scout Jamboree which was held from November 21-27 of that year. The 75-satang photogravure stamp also features Scouts around a campfire in front of their tents. A commemorative postal card was also issued on the occasion.

Thai Provincial Boy Scouts Flag

Thai Provincial Boy Scouts Flag

Colors of the National Scout Organization of Thailand

Colors of the National Scout Organization of Thailand

"From the Stamp Collection of Mark Jochim" - a Photoshop "creation" based on  France #1078 (1963)

“From the Stamp Collection of Mark Jochim” – a Photoshop “creation” based on France #1078 (1963)

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