Celebrating the Lunar New Year

The Postal Service is celebrating the Lunar New Year with a commemorative 12-stamp souvenir sheet to be issued today.

The Postal Service is celebrating the Lunar New Year with a commemorative 12-stamp souvenir sheet to be issued on January 14, 2010. The Celebrating Lunar New Year: Year of the Tiger stamp was dedicated at the El Pueblo Historical Monument. All 40 million 44-cent first-class stamps are available nationwide or online at www.usps.com/shop.

“Throughout our nation, Asian communities have shared their traditions, culture and heritage and, in return, the Postal Service is pleased to contribute by issuing the third of 12 stamps in our Celebrating Lunar New Year series,” said Postal Service Vice President, Employee Development and Diversity, Susan LaChance. “The Postal Service is a microcosm of the diversity of America, and that diversity provides a wide range of traditions. But, regardless of your own culture and heritage, everyone knows a celebration when they see it. And, the Lunar New Year is a celebration among celebrations.”

Creating the Stamp
Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, and artist Kam Mak, of Brooklyn, NY, worked on the new series and decided to focus on some of the common ways the Lunar New Year holiday is celebrated. To commemorate the Year of the Tiger (Feb. 14, 2010 – Feb. 2, 2011), they chose narcissus flowers, considered auspicious at any time of the year and thus, especially appropriate at this time of renewed hope for the future. The illustration was originally created using oil paints on a fiberboard panel. Kessler’s design also incorporates elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps, using Clarence Lee’s intricate paper-cut design of a tiger and the Chinese character – drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun – for “Tiger.”

The Postal Service introduced its previous Lunar New Year stamps series in 1992. The second series, Celebrating Lunar New Year, will continue through 2019 with stamps for the years of the rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and boar.

Born in the Year of the Tiger
People born in the year of a particular animal are said to share characteristics with that animal. Individuals born during the Year of the Tiger are said to be courageous and to possess hidden reserves of strength. They are also thought of as candid yet mysterious. Famous people born in the Year of the Tiger include Marilyn Monroe, Stevie Wonder and Tom Cruise.

The Lunar New Year is celebrated primarily by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan, and Mongolian heritage in many parts of the world. Parades, parties, and other special events are common. Images associated with some of these widespread customs are depicted in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series.