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National Thank a Mail Carrier Day (February 4)

Check out the weird holiday National Thank a Mail Carrier Day on February 4. Learn the history of mailmen, and get ideas on how to celebrate.

One weird holiday on February 4 is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day. Check out the other weird February holidays!

History of National Thank a Mail Carrier Day

Did you know that mail delivery has been around since the ancient Egyptians? The oldest piece of mail is from Egypt in 255 BC, but historians believe people were hired to deliver official royal mail as far back as 2000 BC.

This weird holiday is also known as Thank Your Mailman Day. Take the time to give them a verbal thank you, or perhaps leave out a snack or bottle of water for them. There are lots of ideas further on!

The United States Postal Service first originated in 1775, when the Second Continental Congress organized the first mail service in America At the time, it was called the Constitutional Post.

The first Postmaster General was Benjamin Franklin, and the first female postmaster was Mary Katherine Goddard. She was appointed by Ben Franklin to be postmaster in Baltimore, Maryland.

Prior to this, each colony had postmasters that were in taverns. Mail was delivered to the taverns instead of to individuals. This was based on the British system of sending mail by Post instead of Express Riders.

The first official post office department was opened in 1792.

Postage stamps were invented in 1847 to make it easier for senders to be the one to pay the fee for sending a letter. Prior to that, the receiver was often the person who paid, and they weren’t allowed to receive their mail until they had paid. There was a five-cent stamp with a picture of Ben Franklin and a ten-cent stamp with a picture of George Washington.

The famous Pony Express was established on April 3, 1860. Their well-known motto – which is incorrectled attributed USPS today – was “Neither rain, or snow, nor death of night, can keep us from our duty.” Another variation of this motto today is, “Through rain or snow, or sleet or hail, we’ll carry the mail. We will not fail.”

The old New York City Post Office building (also called the James Farley Post Office) on 8th Avenue has another variation carved in stone over its entrance: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Interestingly, the motto actually comes from “The Persian Wars,” which was written in 445 BC by Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian. He wrote, “It is said that as many days as there are in the whole journey, so many are the men and horses that stand along the road, each horse and man at the interval of a day’s journey; and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed”

Herodotus was describing the Persian postal couriers who carried letters during the Greek and Persian wars. King Cyrus the Great was the one who instituted the courier system, both within his own kingdom and with neighboring countries.

Although it may be tempting to ship your children off to their grandparents so you can get a break for the day, in 1920 the United States Post Office (USPS) added “children” to their list of banned items to be shipped!

Zip codes were established on July 1,1963.

In 2015, Megan Brennan was appointed to be the first female United States Postmaster General.

In 2020, there were 333,570 mail carriers employed in United States. California has the most carriers, followed by Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

Ideas for National Thank a Mail Carrier Day

Here are some ways you thank your mail carrier today.

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