Lunar New Year—Year of the Horse

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 5.12.43 PMI always look forward to new stamps issued by the US Postal Service.  My favorite times to seek out new stamps are in November for Christmas and then in January for the Chinese Lunar New Year. I’ve been known to buy a whole sheet of them and then not even use them on envelopes as they’re so interesting as a group.

The year I signed a contract with a publisher to translate and publishing “Beyond the Rainbow Bridge” I sent a framed sheet of the US stamps as a holiday gift.

This year’s stamp was designed by Brooklyn artist, Kam Mak. The following information is provided by the US Postal Service.

“The Lunar New Year is celebrated primarily by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian heritage in many parts of the world. In the United States, as elsewhere, the occasion is marked with parades, parties and other special events. Drums, such as those depicted in the stamp art, are played to celebrate this time of renewed hope for the future, with drumsticks sometimes painted red for luck. Monetary gifts are given to children and others. Lucky foods are eaten and festive lanterns are hung as decorations.

“The Year of the Horse stamp is the seventh of 12 stamps in the current Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The stamp art depicts Chinese drums with drumsticks, painted red for luck, of the sort traditionally played to welcome the New Year. The artist has decorated these drums with peonies, traditional symbols of prosperity. The stamp design incorporates elements from the previous series of Lunar new Year stamps, including an intricate paper-cut design of a horse and the Chinese character—drawn in grass-style calligraphy—for “Horse.”

People born in the Year of the Horse are said to be easygoing intelligent individuals who are willing to work hard.

The U.S. Postal Service originally introduced a 12-year Lunar New Year stamp series in 1993 depicting the artwork of Clarence Lee. In 2008, the series resumed with the work of Kam Mak’s Year of the Rat stamp. The series will continue through 2019 with stamps for the Year of the Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Boar. This limited edition stamp is being issued in plenty of time for customers to mail new year’s greetings. Lunar New Year begins Jan. 31, 2014 and ends Feb. 18, 2015.

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