Peacock stamps make a colourful collection Merdeka ’48 stamp carnival

VARIOUS types of birds have often been featured on stamps worldwide, probably due to their popularity or symbolic reasons. 

Out of several hundred species of large pheasants, the peacocks (often referred to as male peafowl) have a long train of feathers measuring approximately 2½ m in length compared to the female peacock (peahen) or other types of birds.  

During courtship, the male blue peacock (Pavo cristatus), native of India and Sri Lanka, spreads its train in the shape of a handmade fan. Some peacocks are trained to perform dances, usually according to religious hymns. 

For some 1,000 years, peacocks in India and Sri Lanka were kept in captivity ( mostly at temples) and worshipped based on a religious belief that Hindu god Lord Muruga rode on a peacock’s back around the world.  

A miniature sheet from China of the peacock in all its glory and a peahen.

During the Thaipusam festivals, the kavadi bearers use the peacock feathers extensively – specially to decorate the kavadis.  

The peacock feathers are colourful with large blue and green eyespots (ocelli) and these feathers are also kept at altars and used as bookmarks. 

The peacock usually keeps snakes at bay as the snake fears the peacock’s claws and turkey beaks.  

With the widespread clearing of forests to make way for development, the peacock has become threatened with extinction in its native lands. 

The theme “Peacock'' as a thematic study has plenty of offer and to justify a decent collection. 

Having participated in most world philatelic exhibitions, I am surprised that the subject on peacock is rarely seen. It would be a splendid idea for a collector to start one right away. 

Majlis Perbandaran Petaling Jaya and PSM are jointly organising a Merdeka ’48 Stamp Carnival at the Petaling Jaya Community Library on Sept 24 and 25 between 9.30am to 6pm. The two-day programme will have activities like a colouring competition, Lucky Draws, Stamp Auctions and Philatelic guide tour for school children and the public. Entrance is free.  

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