Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

Whether you live in a small town or a big city, festivals are usually one of the highlights of the year! Sometimes people gather to celebrate traditional crafts, special seasons, historical events or even religious festivities that are important to the community. What do the people in your region commemorate?

In March, write about a popular festival in your region.
Feira da Dieta Mediterrânica

One festival that always makes our town buzz with excitement is the Mediterranean Diet Fair, in mid-September. Tavira is a representative community of this UNESCO recognized form of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and as such, every year a big party is thrown to showcase and celebrate it.

There are a lot of shows and workshops around the theme of the Mediterranean diet, which is not just about the food itself, but also encompasses all cultural aspects that go with. From music to performative arts, markets and seed banks, visits to cultural heritage sites, workshops, or activities for the little ones… there’s always something going on during the days over which the event takes place, so it’s definitely worth a visit!

What about your region? Which festivals are you looking forward to this year? Let’s write about these special events on the postcards we send out in March!

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2020 is a Leap Year, so how about a look at some old postcards illustrating one of the best-known Leap Day traditions? If you’ve never heard of this, the tradition is that on Leap Day (and only on Leap Day!) women can propose to men.

In 2012, Huffington Post rounded up this and other marriage superstitions related to Leap Day around the world: in some countries, it’s bad luck, while in Finland if the man refuses he has to pay a fine and give the poor lady enough material to make a skirt. (In times past that was a pretty significant fine, and a useful gift!)

Take a look at some of these postcards we found!

The Manhunt in 1908 The Maiden's Vow in 1908 In 1908... Careful, that's a fine specimen! Maidens are eagerly waiting, their traps enticingly bating...
My heart and money... I lay them at your feet Unsafe for a poor lone bachelor!

The Scottish tradition is that proposing women had to wear a red petticoat as a sort of warning to let men know they were going to propose… but I’m not sure how anyone could check on the petticoats of some of these ladies! We don’t think they’d let you try… (quite right, too!)

We had no idea that Leap Day postcards were a genre of their own, but we found a whole collection of them curated by Alan Mays on Flickr, as well as the others we gathered above! Do you know any other traditions or stories related to Leap Day in your country?

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Coronavirus WHO

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the 2019-nCoV (aka Coronavirus) outbreak in China, since it has been all over the news for the past month. A lot of you have been contacting us with questions about this situation, so we thought a quick post was in order to clarify a couple of points.

First of all, there is no risk of contagion via postcards or mail. Here’s an official response to the question from the World Health Organization:

Q: Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from China?

A: Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting 2019-nCoV. From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.

This situation has had a heavy impact in the postal world though, with many postal operators having stopped accepting mail to China due to cancelled flights and widespread delays. For this reason, Postcrossing has temporarily stopped giving out Chinese addresses. We will continue monitoring the situation, and when things return to normal, the algorithm will resume giving out Chinese addresses for everyone to send postcards to.

Doing this really saddens us, as we realize this is a difficult period in which Chinese postcrossers most need support. So we hope everyone will join us in the comments below, sending the Chinese Postcrossing community and their families some encouraging thoughts and good wishes. 中国加油!

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Sometime ago, Simon (aka SimonBurrow) emailed us a very cool story about receiving snowy postcards in Arizona’s hot desert climate. Reading his profile and blog afterwards, we noticed we had a few things in common including a love for hiking, minimalism and Seth Godin’s philosophy… so it seemed like a good idea to invite him over to the blog, so he could tell about these passions, as well as the story which prompted his initial contact. If you’re curious, read on!

How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?
SimonBurrow's snowy postcards

I joined just over six years ago. How I first heard about Postcrossing is lost in the mist of time. But I recall that as soon as I heard I joined and spent a lot of time anxiously waiting for my first cards. Now I get a postcard almost every day and each one makes me happy so I extrapolate and am pleased to think that each card I write is making somebody else a little bit happier.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

I’m retired and I love to hike. I especially like endurance hiking. I have hiked the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in a day and Mt Whitney in California twice. Around home I’m hiking all the trails in a book called “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Phoenix.” Whenever I hear about a petroglyph that i can hike to, I start planning.

Once a week or so I volunteer as a tour guide at the Pueblo Grande Museum near the airport in Phoenix. Early people built a complicated irrigation base society in this area from about 300CE until about 1400CE and then they stopped. There are lots of mysteries that I enjoy talking about.

Show us your mailbox, your mailman/mailwoman, your postoffice or the place where you post or keep your postcards!

I walk to the post office about a half kilometer away to buy stamps but I mail all of my cards in the mail room in my building.

I was a collector of many thing for many years: books, maps, matchbooks, marbles and rocks to name a few. But now my collecting days are over and I’m giving things away. I scan all cards I receive and then give the physical postcards to an elementary school teacher who uses them for sorting exercises.

Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.
SimonBurrow's Burro postcard

I favorite every bridge postcard and mountain postcard I receive because I asked for them. But I often favorite the quirky ones I receive or that I see on other peoples walls. My current, non-snow favorite card is a Burro from San Miguel de Allende Mexico, since my name is Burrow.

SimonBurrow's snowy postcards

In June last year, I added a special request for snow postcards to my profile. I thought just seeing snow would help me get through this very hot summer (43C or 109F some days). By July, far more than half of the cards I’d received had been snow cards! It is really delightfully cool and cooling.

What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

I like it all but if I have to choose I’d say writing the cards. Trying to tell a story that relates to the recipient and that comes alive in four lines is a good challenge.

Have you been surprised by any place that you have received a postcard from or sent a postcard to?

I like it when I get cards from places I’ve never heard of, like Åland. I keep hoping to get cards from Cuba or Iran.

Is there anything that you are passionate about?

“If you are not curious, you are not smart.”, wrote Sandra Day O’Connor.

As an immigrant to the USA, I am passionate about making it possible for more people to move around in the world. I wrote a blog, made a documentary film and run a Facebook group about “Rational Immigration.” There is a long way to go on this issue because fear of strangers is built into our DNA. Postcrossing in a small way helps to break down this barrier.

Trip to France

I can’t end without mentioning how much I like to spend time with my wife and two grown daughters. Last year, we had a family trip to Lyon, France to watch the Women’s World Cup Football.

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Submissions for The Graceful Envelope Contest are once again open, so it’s time to talk about the most beautiful mailart contest out there! :) Just look at some of the beautiful envelopes from last year’s contest:

Graceful Envelope Contest 2019 Graceful Envelope Contest 2019 Graceful Envelope Contest 2019 Graceful Envelope Contest 2019

Aren’t they precious? Last year’s theme was “Put a stamp on it!” and there are links to all the winners and honorable mentions on their page. The theme for this year is “Double vision”:

“The 2020 theme is inspired by the year itself. Only once a century does the year double up! On an envelope, capture something that’s double—whatever you see in your personal Double Vision.”

An interesting theme for sure, and we look forward to seeing the results! Rest assured, you don’t need to be a calligraphy master to participate, as works will be judged not just by the calligraphy or your choice of stamps, but by how you interpret the theme as well as how all of the elements work together to convey your message. Participation by little ones is encouraged, and children have their own categories by age groups.

People from all over the world can participate, as long as they do so until March 23, 2020. So you have less than 2 months to work on this creative project and then mail it in — all the rules are explained on the Washington Calligraphers Guild website.

Good luck, everyone!

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