Instant, worldwide communications have become so integral to the modern world, that we sometimes forget what an absolute miracle it is. Think about it: With just a few clicks of our mouse or trackpad, we can dictate a message (we don’t even have to type anymore!) and send it at the speed of light to just about anybody on Earth. One of the best ways to appreciate this technological marvel is to celebrate World Post Day each year on October 9. That’s the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union, and it’s from this humble wellspring that the global communications revolution started and continues to this day.
World Post Day timeline
World Post Day Established
The Universal Postal Congress in Tokyo establishes World Post Day.
- October 9, 1874
Treaty of Bern Held
The General Postal Union is established — later to be called the Universal Postal Union.
- September 15, 1874
First Postal Conference Hosted
Representatives from 22 nations gather in Bern, Switzerland, to plan for an international postal union.
Postage Stamp Invented
Englishman Sir Rowland Hill introduces the world’s first postage stamp.
- 225 B.C.
Oldest Piece of Mail Sent
The oldest example of an official post comes from third century B.C. Egypt.
- 550 B.C.
First Postal Service Established
The first organized postal system originates in Ancient Persia on the orders of King Cyrus the Great.
World Post Day Activities
Surprise someone with a letter
Everybody loves to receive a letter in the mail. And since we do most of our communicating online these days, sending something "the old-fashioned way" is a perfect way to honor our shared postal heritage.
Thank a mail carrier
They come to our houses nearly every day. Maybe we should take the time to say hello and introduce ourselves — and to thank them for their service.
Contribute to a food drive
The U.S. postal service organizes a food drive for the second Saturday in May. Help out those less fortunate by contributing. The USPS says they've delivered more than 1.6 billion pounds of food through this program.
5 Amazing Facts About The Postal System
It processes 5,000 letters a second
The U.S Postal Service processes more than 5,000 pieces of mail every second.
It receives no help
The USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses.
It has ancient English origins
The word "mail" comes from a Medieval English word referring to a traveler's bag or pack.
It used to walk like an Egyptian
The earliest documented evidence of a courier system is from Egypt (around 2400 BC).
It started ZIP codes
ZIP stands for Zone Improvement Plan, begun in 1963 by the USPS.
Why We Love World Post Day
It reminds us to stay in touch
John Lennon once sang that "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." And in the hustle-and-bustle world, it's good to take the time to reach out to those we love. The postal service lets us do that — quickly, efficiently, and for a good price, too!
Postal workers deserve recognition
Although the U.S. Postal Service has no official motto, it is often associated with a quote from the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." The quote is a fitting tribute to postal workers the world over who are tasked with delivering our most precious correspondence.
There's nothing like getting a letter or a postcard
Sure, most of us communicate via the internet these days. But there's just something extra special about opening the mailbox to find a handwritten note from someone far away.