Belarus post office back on line

Belarus post office back on line

After months of being offline, the Belarus post office finally re-appeared this week. I managed to grab all the new releases, both stamps and special commemorative covers and post them.  Belpochta also posted their tentative program for 2023, which I’ll be prepping sometime later in the summer.  Will it stay on-line? No way of telling. I’ll post updates here. 

You can find all the latest releases here Check out the Belarus 2022 stamps! | Bitter Grounds Magazine.  



Ukrposhta post office update

Ukrposhta post office update

Ukrposhta post office update: 

Ukrposhta is temporarily inaccessible. Not sure how far this extends, but so far this week, Ukraine’s post office has been blocked. If anyone has had success accessing the site could you drop a comment below. I’m not sure if they have geoblocked the world, or they are having issues with hackers again. 

I’ll keep you posted on the situation. But at the moment, there is no information available. 

You can still purchase stamps and merch via their online store: post stamps ( It is unaffected.

Folktale from Vietnam – starfruit tree

Folktale from Vietnam – starfruit tree

If you are a fan of folktales, myths, and legends, then 2022 is your year. Vietnam has joined the growing list of fantastic local tales on stamps with their June 25 release Vietnamese Fairy Tales: The Starfruit Tree | Truyện cổ tích Việt Nam: Cây khế.  

The story uses a universal motif of greed and sibling rivalry to spin a cautionary tale. Artist and designer Nguyễn Du created this beautiful storyboard, featuring vividly colourful illustrations.  Nguyễn has created many stamps for Vietnam post, but this will rank as his best work.

Vietnamese Fairy Tales: The Tree Folktale from Vietnam

Vietnamese Fairy Tales: The Tree by artist Nguyễn Du


The story lays out, in 4 frames the basics of the tale and woven between each stamp, is a starfruit tree. Before we go further, I realize not everyone knows what a starfruit is and why it’s called a starfruit, so let’s start with a photo.


table full of starfruit


Yes, it is star shaped when sliced up, hence it’s name.  The tree grows throughout southeast Asia and can be found all over Vietnam. It’s hard to describe the flavour, a bit sweet and sour, occasionally a little bitter with hints of citrus. I can’t quite figure out how to explain because it’s unique and worth trying.

The series was issued for the  Vietstampex National Postage Stamp Exhibition 2020 which takes place June 24 to June 26, 2022. Like everything else in the world, this was postponed from 2020. 

Folktale from Vietnam – origin story

I referenced a number of translations for this article, including The Golden Star Fruit Tree ( and Fairy Tales – Read Fairy Tales: The Tree ( The story revolves around a starfruit tree and two brothers. The brothers’ parents died, leaving them property to be divided between them. The younger brother was a sweet, gentle person and the older a greedy, ill tempered individual.

Vietnamese Fairy Tales The Tree set1

As time went on, both brothers married. The older brother decided he wanted to live on his own with his wife, telling his younger brother he had to move out. Being a greedy sort, he took the lion’s share of the property, with the best gardens and house. That left the younger and his wife with a broken down hut to live in. 

The only thing of value on the property was a starfruit tree.  The younger brother and his wife eked out a living from the poor soil, and carefully tended to the tree. One year, the tree began to flourish, producing fruit that was unusually bright yellow and tasty  looking. The brother and his wife were excited, thinking they could take the fruit to market and buy rice with the money they made. 

The giant bird & the starfruit tree

The morning they were going to take the fruit to market, they found a giant bird roosting in the tree, eating their valuable fruit. The brother, in despair, tried to chase the bird away crying out they needed that fruit to sell. Without that fruit they will starve.

The bird replied, telling the poor couple that if it allowed him to eat their starfruit, the bird would reward them with gold nuggets. The great bird told the pair to sew a bag measuring 3ft long and wait for the bird’s return. As long as the bird was allowed to eat from the tree, the couple would be rewarded with gold. 

The shocked couple returned to their hut and discussed the bird’s proposition. They knew without that fruit, they would be faced with hunger, but decided to do as the bird instructed. The next morning, the bird returned and ate all the fruit. Husband and wife clung to each other, wondering if they had made a mistake in trusting this bird.

Vietnamese Fairy Tales The Tree set2

After eating all the ripe fruit on the tree, the bird flew down to the ground and told the brother to climb on board, with his bag. The brother obeyed and the pair flew off into the distance. They flew for hours, eventually landing on a deserted island. The bird told the brother to dismount and look around. The island was filled with wonderful treasures of gold, silver, and jewels.

The bird instructed the brother to fill his bag. That was his reward for his generosity. Doing as he was told, the brother packed his bag full, and the bird flew him back to his home. From then on, the brother and his wife lived a better life.  They remained kind-hearted, never changed their ways, and often helped their fellow villagers. 

The older brother shows his greed

One day, the younger brother invited the older brother over to commemorate their parents. The older brother hadn’t changed and was still greedy and selfish.  He despised his younger brother and began to make unreasonable demands on him for the honour of attending the commemoration. Not knowing his brother was now wealthy, he insisted, on what he thought would be unreachable demands, believing the brother would be humiliated. The older brother wanted the road and path leading up to the younger brother’s home covered in rugs and mats and have the gates adorned with gold.

The younger brother didn’t want to cause a problem and complied. The older brother and his wife arrived and were shocked to see the younger brother doing so well. During their meal, he found out the secret of their good fortune. The younger brother, being a decent individual, thought they could share the treasures, but the older brother wanted the tree to himself. He proposed he and his brother swap properties, he would take the hut and the tree, and his brother could have the richer properties and all its wealth. The younger brother had always complied with his older brother’s wishes and so once again agreed.

Vietnamese Fairy Tales The Tree set3

The older brother lay about by the starfruit tree, eager for the bird to return. One morning, the bird reappeared and made the same deal with the brother. He gave the instructions to the brother about making a bag 3 feet long and to prepare for the trip the next day.

The brother’s selfishness causes a disaster

 Vietnamese Fairy Tales The Tree set4
Instead of making one bag, the brother made two, each 6ft long so he could bring more gold and gems home than his brother had. The next day, the bird arrived and ate the starfruit and then took the brother to the island. The brother was filled with insatiable greed and stuffed both bags with as much gold as he could. He had so much, he struggled to get back onto the bird.

The combined weight of the brother and his over filled sacks was almost too much, and the bird struggled to lift off and fly away. While over the water, the bird could barely stay aloft, and began to sway back and forth because of the excess weight. It was no good, the bird couldn’t fly properly because the brother’s greed was too much. Eventually the bird tilting too far and the brother fell into the sea. He refused to let go of his treasure and was swept away, drowning rather than saving himself. His greed led to his own death.

Souvenir sheet 

This cautionary tale is completed with a spectacular souvenir sheets. Vietnam issued a beautiful star-shaped souvenir sheet, complete with starfruit decorating the edges. 

Vietnamese Fairy Tales: The Tree

Souvenir sheet showing final village scene

The final scene, played out on this sheet, shows a happy village, content and living peacefully. 

The image on the stamp shows the representative element of pure Vietnamese culture with 5-storey ancient houses, brick courtyards, straw trees, buffalo herds, rice fields. The character of the characters, honesty or cunning, hard work or laziness … They are all clearly depicted in contrast. VNPost | Introducing the stamp set “Vietnamese Fairy Tales: The Tree”

If you are a fan of animation, then this Vietnamese cartoon, from the Children’s Channel at BHMedia,  about the Starfruit tree story should delight you. It is in Vietnamese and myy advice is to simply enjoy the beauty of the artwork and not bother with the bizarre automated captioning. The tale is easy to follow and the artwork is beautiful. Enjoy.


More folktales and stories

And finally, if you are a lover of folktales and legends from around the world, this year’s EUROPA theme is a must see. EUROPA 2022 celebrates local stories and myths from over 60 countries. You can check them out here Weaving tales with EUROPA 2022 – Stories & Myths | Bitter Grounds Magazine. As well, don’t forget to check out my TOPICALS, EUROPA & SEPAC stamps index. There is a section titled Ghost stories, monsters, myths & legends, with 5 articles (as of publication date) dealing with myths and legends.  

As always, I hope you enjoyed this article. It takes time and work to pull together posts for Bitter Grounds and you can help keep it running with “Buy Me a Coffee” donations. Every donation makes a difference. 



Canada Post Honours 3 Indigenous Leaders

Canada Post Honours 3 Indigenous Leaders

Canada Post is honouring Indigenous leaders Harry Daniels, Jose Kusugak and Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier on National Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21, 2022). Lime Design, the designers behind some of Canada Post’s best Black History Month stamps created this trio of stamps and covers. You can see more of their work with last year’s Black History stamps here and here. They excel in creating strong portraits, and this talent shines through in this series. 

Daniels.Métis single stampJose_Kusugak_single stamp Day Walker single stamp 

Indigenous Leaders Souvenir Sheet


Métis leader Harry Daniels  (1940-2004)  

Indigenous Leaders OFDC Daniels Indigenous Leaders OFDC Back Daniels

1 stamp, booklet of 6, FDC, cancel

Métis leader Harry Daniels  (1940-2004). 

Read press releases in Michif 220613-NR-IL-Harry-Daniels-Michif  and 220610-MA-IL-Daniels-Michif (final)

He was a writer, activist and politician who dedicated his life to protecting the rights of the Métis and non-status Indians. 

One of Daniels’ most important contributions was successfully leading an effort to convince the federal government to enshrine the inherent rights of Métis and non-status Indians in the new Constitution. As a result, Métis are included, along with First Nations (named as Indians) and Inuit, as Indigenous (identified as Aboriginal) Peoples in the Constitution Act, 1982.

For Daniels, however, constitutional recognition was just a first step. Since 1867, the federal government had recognized only “status Indians” as being its jurisdictional responsibility. The provincial governments had also not claimed responsibility for Métis and non-status Indians. To this end, in 1999, Daniels and several other plaintiffs launched Daniels v. Canada to determine the federal government’s relationship with the two groups. The case was not decided until 2016, 12 years after Daniels’ death, when the Supreme Court upheld the Federal Court ruling that Métis and non-status Indians are Indians under the British North America Act, 1867, and therefore, come under the federal government’s jurisdiction. Canada Post issues commemorative stamp recognizing Métis leader Harry Daniels | Canada Post (

You can learn more about Daniels and the Métis at the following links:


Inuit leader Jose Kusugak (1950-2011)

Indigenous Leaders OFDC Kusugak Indigenous Leaders OFDC Back Kusugak

1 stamp, booklet of 6, FDC, cancel

Inuit leader Jose Kusugak (1950-2011)

Read the press releases in Inuktut 220610-MA-IL-Kusugak-Inuktut and 220614-NR-IL-Jose-Kusugak-Inuktut

 An Inuit activist, linguist and award-winning broadcaster, Kusugak played a critical role in efforts that led to the creation of Nunavut in 1999, for which many consider him a Father of Confederation…

In 1971, he joined the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC), where his natural abilities as a communicator helped in his efforts to disseminate and explain the concept of land claims to Inuit communities. To further spread the land claims message across the Arctic, Kusugak joined CBC North in 1980 as area manager for the Kivalliq region. After 10 years with CBC, he joined the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, introducing new areas of programming in Inuktitut.

From 1994 to 2000, Kusugak was president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. The organization played a pivotal role in negotiating the land claim that created Nunavut, which became a territory on April 1, 1999. Canada Post unveils new stamp honouring Inuit leader Jose Kusugak- | Canada Post (

You can learn more about Jose Kusugak and the Inuit people here: 

Our ancestors were ingenious and inventive, prospering in an environment that many outsiders have unfairly characterized as bleak and inhospitable. Inuit | Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada



Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan

 Indigenous Leaders OFDC Day Walker-Pelletier Indigenous Leaders OFDC Back Day Walker-Pelletier 

1 stamp, booklet of 6, FDC, cancel

Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier Okanese First Nation in Saskatchewan

Read the press releases in Cree 220615-NR-IL-Day-Walker-Pelletier-Cree and 220613-MA-IL-Walker-Cree.

Chief Day Walker-Pelletier has left huge mark on indigenous communities across Canada.  She has worked tirelessly for social reform and fostering healing within First Nations communities across the country. She also championed indigenous rights, which included the right to celebrate their own cultures and languages.  Even in retirement Day Walker-Pelletier continues to work towards healing the generational trauma indigenous communities are dealing with.

Throughout her leadership, she fought to improve the quality of life of the Okanese and to protect the culture, rights and traditions of all First Nations people through her involvement in numerous tribal, provincial and national initiatives on social reform, health and wellness, and education. She was an advocate of many important issues including violence against women, drug abuse, economic development, housing, health and education.

A survivor of the residential school system, Day Walker-Pelletier was particularly passionate about improving the lives of women and children. In 2021, a year after she retired, her decade-long dream to reintegrate Indigenous foster children into their families culminated in the opening of the Daywalker Home Fire Family Centre. 
New stamp commemorates extraordinary leadership of Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier | Canada Post (

You can learn more about Chief Marie-Anne Day Walker-Pelletier and the Okanese First Nations here:

There were so many great videos of Chief Day Walker-Pelletier, it was difficult to pick just one. She’s a true force. But I settled on Canada Post’s video on her because it gives a wonderful overview of her strength and love of community.


Learn More

In a final note, I offer this video to gain a little perspective on the battle Indigenous peoples have faced in reclaiming their cultural identities and lands.  If you’d like to do more reading, check out the Indigenous Peoples of Canada Atlas.  

For a substantive examination of Indigenous peoples, the University of Alberta offers a course, via Coursera, titled Indigenous Canada. It’s a free, 12 lesson course that explores history, culture and current issues facing Canada’s indigenous peoples.  The course is in English, but subtitled in the following languages Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, Spanish.

The University of Toronto offers Aboriginal Worldviews and Education through Coursera. This 14 hour course is free as well. It takes a look at how indigenous peoples view the world with topics like Aboriginal Worldviews and Education and Aboriginal Worldviews Colliding with Newcomers.  The course is  in English with subtitles in French, Portuguese (European), Russian and Spanish.

Indigenous Peoples Day takes place on June 21 each year. This link is a pretty decent description of the history of the day  National Indigenous Peoples Day | The Canadian Encyclopedia.  CBC has a series of programs worth exploring CBC MARKS NATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY & NATIONAL INDIGENOUS HISTORY MONTH – CBC Media Centre,  As well as resources for children, and what celebrations are on, the page offers a hard look at the deep generational trauma experienced by Indigenous communities across the country. Often unflinching and deeply disturbing, it’s a must read.

To see all the stamps in this series, check out Sneak peek at Canada’s 2022 stamp program and skip down a few stamps to see everything. 

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Ukrposhta post office update

July Ukraine stamp design revealed

Ukrposhta has revealed their newest stamp design for the “Good evening, we are from Ukraine!” competition. The winning submission is the Ukrainian tractor pulling an abandoned Russian tank entry. The image of a tractor pulling a tank has become one of the iconic symbols of the war.  

Good evening, we are from Ukraine winning stamp

Over 834,000 votes were cast by Ukrainians. with 3400,000 voting for the tractor. Release date has not been announced, but expect it sometime in July, along with details about the designer. 5 million stamps will be released.  

UPDATE:  The designer is Anastasia Bondarets | Анастасія Бондарець,  graphic artist and teacher. 

“The very name “Good evening, we are from Ukraine!” is inspiring. And I, like the whole world, was impressed by our farmers, because this is the first time in the world history of wars that farmers are helping the military. And this tractor, which entails broken enemy equipment to be repaired and put into service by our military, is an allegory for how each Ukrainian does everything in its power, by virtue of its capabilities, to bring our victory closer. Everyone matters now. I am a relatively beginner in digital art, I did not expect anything at all when I sent work, much less to victory. I just wanted to bring my idea to life and the fact that this idea was liked by such a large number of people is actually an honor for me,” 
Anastasia Bondarets 

«Сама назва «Доброго вечора, ми з України!» вона надихаюча. А мене, як і весь світ, вразили наші аграрії, адже це вперше у світовій історії війн аграрії допомагають військовим. І цей трактор, що тягне за собою розбиту ворожу техніку, аби її відремонтували та поставили на озброєння нашим військовим – це алегорія на те, як кожен українець робить все від нього залежне, у силу своїх можливостей, аби наблизити нашу перемогу. Кожен зараз має значення. Я відносно початківець в digital art, взагалі ні на що не сподівалась, коли відправляла роботу, а тим паче на перемогу. Мені просто захотілось втілити свою ідею в життя і те, що ця ідея сподобалась такій великій кількості людей – це наспра, вді честь для мене», – говорить про свою ідею Анастасія Бондарець.
Ukrposhta press release June Переможницю голосування на ескіз поштової марки «Доброго вечора, ми з України!» надихнула творчість Івана Марчука і Анатолія Криволапа (

Bondarets credits artists Ivan Marchuk and Anatoliy Kryvolap | Івана Марчука і Анатолія Криволапа for their influence in her style. 

Guess where I went? CAPEX 22

Guess where I went? CAPEX 22

So, have you guessed? That’s right, CAPEX 22 right here in Toronto! Events like this are great opportunities to scoop up catalogues and info for the archives. The first thing I beelined for was Canada Post’s 3 special overprinted souvenir sheets in a folder. 

 CAPEX22 souvenir sheets 

Canada Post’s booth was a trove of great stamps. Wish I had more money to scoop everything they had on offer. CP had special cancels for this set, but, although I’m a massive cancel hound, I couldn’t bring myself to touch the sheets. They’ll be popped into my collection later, but for now, I have them on display. 

You can see more about this set over on the Canada 2022 page, along with the rest of the year’s program. The more I look at the Vintage Travel Posters, the more I’m convinced they are the 2022 Best Pick. I love 1930s style designs and this set has 4 from that classic period. As a bonus, Canada Post also issued a set of pre-stamped postcards. As many Canadian collectors know, Canada Post doesn’t issue a lot of postcards, so this is a special lot. Grab them while you can. 

Canada 2022 Vintage travel posters postcard 5 Canada 2022 Vintage travel posters postcard 12 Canada 2022 Vintage travel posters postcard 2 Canada 2022 Vintage travel posters postcard 9Canada 2022 Vintage travel posters postcard 10

What else did I grab? Catalogues! OH THE CATALOGUES. I love looking through auction catalogues, especially older ones. Take a look at this haul.

CAPEX 2022 catalogues 

Tons of reading, including a stack of Canadian Philatelist magazines. Great magazine by the way. I have dozens of back issues I use for reference all the time. You can subscribe here The Canadian Philatelist. If you can, keep an eye open for older issues for your archives. 

Also spotted, one of the best Cinderellas I’ve seen in eons. The folks in Boston are already prepping for their big Boston 2026 World Expo. As well as the expected brochures and flyers, they were giving away this set of promotional advertising stamps.


Boston 2026 Cinderella stamps


It’s never too late to start planning for the Boston 2026 World Stamp Show, Inc. – The Twelfth International Philatelic Exhibition of the United States. Check out the details and watch for news. I’m going to keep my eyes on this one, and hope I can go. If I can’t get to one of Paris’ exhibitions, Boston will do. 


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