Postcrossing Blog

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

Wherever you are, we hope you’re having a brilliant day, filled with postcards and postal celebrations. Our list of events for 2018 grew a bit in the last couple of days, so do check it out! 📯

Earlier this year, our Little Mail Carriers were in Berlin to visit the Museum für Kommunikation and deliver some mail. We’ll tell you all about their trip on an upcoming post, but for now, here’s a sweet preview of that adventure:

Neat, right? If you’re curious to see more of Berlin’s Museum for Communication, stay tuned to the blog — the Little Mail Carriers will tell you all about it later this week.

By the way, many countries have a postal, communications or philatelic museum… so you haven’t visited yours yet, this could be a great activity for the week. Happy World Post Day, everyone!

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World Post Day poster

October 9th is World Post Day! 📮

In a few days, the Universal Postal Union will celebrate its 144th anniversary, and this is also the day chosen to celebrate the Post all over the world. It’s a good day to reflect on the infrastructure that connects the globe in tangible ways, allowing things to move from our hands to the waiting hands of another person, no matter how far they are. Where would we be without all these efficient systems in place to make sure our postcards, letters and parcels arrive safely to their recipients?

To help you celebrate the day with postal services worldwide, we’ve asked you to let us know what your own local post office will be doing on October 9th, so that we could compile our habitual list of events. Here’s what we were able to find out together:

Fewer and fewer post offices seem to commemorate the date with each passing year… but don’t let it “rain on your (postal) parade”! We encourage everyone to join in and celebrate the day in any way they can. Send a few postcards with extra-nice stamps, high-five your mail carrier, or say a kind word to the person behind the counter at your post office, maybe bring some cookies, even! I’m sure your thoughtful gestures will all be appreciated.

Hurray for the Post that brings us together!

PS – If we’ve missed any events that you know of, just let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the list.

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The writing prompts are an ongoing experiment that invites 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!

With Halloween just around the corner, this seemed like a good suggestion from ColorfulCourtney:

In October, write about a superstition from your region or area.

Not being overly superstitious myself, I confess I had to do a bit of research about the topic but found out something interesting in the process! The typical houses in the south of Portugal are white, with a colorful band around the windows and doors, traditionally in yellow or blue but often found in other colors as well. Like this photo from the nearby town of Castro Marim:

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Turns out, that colorful band of color is said to be there to ward off bad spirits from entering the house! The buildings are also often whitewashed with a lime solution every year, and supposedly this task must be carried out by women for maximum efficiency in its “protectiveness” … 🤔

These might seem like silly superstitions, but since the majority of old houses here are still whitewashed and have colorful bands, a lot of people sure used to believe in it! 😅 What about your area? Are there any superstitions that are unique to your region or maybe country? Let others know about them on the postcards you send this month!

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Héléna (aka Helena2008) is a young postcrosser from the French region of Auvergne. Earlier this year, she gave an interview about her hobby to teen magazine “Trampoline”… and that’s how we knew we had a very enthusiastic postcrosser in the area! Turns out, she has a lot of stories to tell, so we invited her to the blog, with the help of her mom Marie (aka Marie007). Here they are:

Hi Héléna! How did you come across Postcrossing? What got you hooked?

Two years ago, my mom saw an article about postcrossing on Facebook. It was the evening, and I was in my bed, almost sleeping. Mom was very excited by this project, and she thought I would be interested, too. So she came in my bedroom, turned on the light, woke me, and she asked me if I was interested in this project. Of course I said “yes”. I didn’t know it at this moment, but it was the beginning of a great adventure! :)

Postcrossing Spotlight: Helena2008 from France!
Do you have any other interesting hobbies?

I collect stamps with animals and flowers. Postcrossing is a wonderful way to discover very beautiful stamps! Sometimes postcrossers use an envelope and they add some stamps inside the envelope just for me. It’s very nice and I always thank them. I’m very interested about languages, especially English. I learn English at school, and also at home with a free internet website named Duolingo. When I’ll be older, I would like to own a “learning languages store”. I’d like to be an English teacher for adults.

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

My mailman has a lot of work because of me! He is so used to deliver postcards to me, that sometimes he puts in my mailbox postcards which are not for me! When it happens, I take them and put them in the mailbox of my neighbors. At home, I have a wall where I put my postcards.

Postcrossing Spotlight: Helena2008 from France!
Show and tell us about your favorite received postcard to date, and what makes it special.

My favorite postcard was the one I have received from the city Helena, Montana, USA. It was so strange to see my name written on a postcard!! I also love to receive postcards of rabbits. I have a rabbit, so I’m crazy about these nice and soft animals.

Postcrossing Spotlight: Helena2008 from France!
What is it your favorite part of the Postcrossing process?

My favorite part of postcrossing is to go to my mailbox and see if there is a postcard for me :) The more exciting is when I receive an envelope. It’s wonderful to open it and to discover what it is inside. Some postcrossers are very nice with me and they send to me some girly stickers, stamps, or coins from their country. It’s very kind and it makes me very happy.

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

Yes, I have been surprised many times by the places that I have received postcards. With a swap, I have received a postcard from Syria. It was from a girl who is almost the same age as I am. It’s hard to think about her and about the war in her country. I often think about this little girl and I hope she is fine.

Have you met any other members in real life?

I also love to travel around the world with my mom. In August 2016, Jeremy, a very nice American postcrosser invited me and my mom to visit the city of Helena (capital of Montana, USA). It was absolutely wonderful!! I went in a plane for the first time of my life, I have discovered America, eaten real hamburgers, visited a ghost town, looked for gold nuggets, visited the city of Helena…

Postcrossing Spotlight: Helena2008 from France!

This trip was the best moment of my life! After that, I have invited this postcrosser to France. He came in my house during summer 2017. It was great to show him my country and to see each other again. We are still in touch, and my mom and I are planning a trip next summer, to go back to Helena. I already know that it’s going to be awesome!

I have also met many french postcrossers, during Postcrossing meetings. I went with my mom to the meetings of Avignon, Lyon, Ternay, Valence… It’s really good to see postcrossers in real life. They are very nice and they have become my friends. My favorite meeting was last Autumn, when mom and I have organised a meeting in our own home. There were 20 persons and we have sent 435 postcards on this day!! I live in a small village with only 550 inhabitants. I can’t imagine the face of the postman the day after, when he has found the mailbox full of postcards to send!! :)

Postcrossing Spotlight: Helena2008 from France!
Is there anything that you are passionate about?

I love to travel the world and discover different cultures. I hope to receive one postcard from each country in the world. I have a big map in my house, where I can color the countries once I have received a postcard. I have currently received postcards from 98 countries. My bigger dream is to receive a postcard from North Korea. Maybe one day it will happen…

Postcrossing Spotlight: Helena2008 from France!
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When we’re talking to other postcrossers at meetings, we often hear about their long term penpals, and how some people have kept up a steady correspondence back and forth for years. So it got us curious… how many postcrossers had or still have penpals? And if they never tried it, how many would be interested in giving penpaling a go in the future?

To find out, we ran a poll on the front page last week, and collected 8351 votes. These are the results:

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As our own suspicions hinted, postcrossers are naturally fans of letter writing, with most people either having one at the moment (32%), or having had one in the past (33%). A further 24% of the respondents had never tried, but are eager to give it a go someday, and only 11% of participants stated that they were not interested.

The breakdown of the results by country can be seen below, but please take these numbers with a grain of salt. The average age range of postcrossers varies wildly in places, with Asian countries typically being home to much younger postcrossers, while things are more evenly distributed in the Western hemisphere. Naturally, this has an indirect impact in the results, as younger people might not have had the time to try penpaling yet. That said, here they are:

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It’s always tricky to make conclusions from these kind of informal studies, but Japan seems to be the reigning champion of penpals at the moment, with over 50% of postcrossers still keeping in touch with theirs, and only 19% having given up over time.

Finland stands out as well — can you spot it on the graph? Over 97% of postcrossers have either tried, still have or are interested in penpaling. This does not come as a surprise, knowing their top spot on Postcrossing’s per capita ranking!

Which countries have more people looking for penpals for the first time, you ask? That would be China, India, Taiwan and Ukraine, all of which have over 40% participants in that category. (By the way, if that’s you, did you know that there’s a section in the Postcrossing forum dedicated to finding penpals?)

And Portugal, the birth country of Postcrossing, appears to be the one where people are least interested in penpals at all… Both Paulo and I have had penpals before, so I confess this is a somewhat surprising result for us. 😅 Perhaps other Portuguese postcrossers want to chime in on the topic?

In any case, how did your own country fare? Are the results more or less in line with your experience and expectations? Let’s discuss it on the comments below!

PS – As usual, only countries with more than 50 votes are included, so that the results can be more meaningful.

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