Tuesday, January 8, 2008
The Year of the Rat is approaching....
Celebrating the Chinese New Year
Year of the Rat Stamp Kicks Off Series That Runs Through 2019
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In observance of the Chinese
New Year, the U.S. Postal Service will debut a new stamp series for the 12
different animals in the Chinese calendar. The series will continue through
2019. The first 41-cent stamp in the series is for the Year of the Rat, which
begins Feb. 7, 2008 and ends Jan. 25, 2009 and will be dedicated tomorrow in
an 11 a.m. ceremony at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, 1111 California St.
The rat is the first of 12 animals associated with the Chinese calendar.
According to legend, the animals raced across a river to determine their order
in the cycle. The rat crossed by riding on the back of the ox, jumping ahead
at the last minute to win the race.
"The start of the Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday of the year for more
than 25 percent of the people in the world," said Katherine C. Tobin, member
of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors, who will dedicate the stamp.
"It is a time of great celebration and reflection for many millions of
Americans, including our nation's oldest Chinese-American community here in
Joining Tobin at the event will be Sidney Chan, president of the board of
directors of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce; Claudine Cheng, former president
of the Organization of Chinese Americans, Inc.; stamp designer Kam Mak; and
Leung's White Crane Kung Fu Association, which will perform a traditional
White Crane Lion Dance.
People born in the year of a particular animal are said to share
characteristics with that animal. Those born during the Year of the Rat are
said to be adaptable, clever, ambitious and industrious. Persons born within
the following date ranges can be said to have been born in the "Year of the
Feb. 18, 1912- Feb. 5, 1913
Feb. 5, 1924 - Jan. 24, 1925
Jan. 24, 1936 - Feb. 10, 1937
Feb. 10, 1948 - January 28, 1949
Jan. 28, 1960 - Feb. 14, 1961
Feb. 15, 1972 - Feb. 2, 1973
Feb. 2, 1984 - Feb. 19, 1985
Feb. 19, 1996 - Feb. 6, 1997
Famous Rats include Antonio Banderas, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Claude
Monet, Doris Day, David Duchovny, George Washington, Hugh Grant, Donna
Summer, Prince Charles, Samuel L. Jackson, Sean Penn, and Olivia Newton-John.
Art director Ethel Kessler worked on the new series with Chinese-American
illustrator Kam Mak, an artist who grew up in New York City's Chinatown and
who now lives in Brooklyn. They decided to focus on common ways the Chinese
New Year holiday is celebrated. To commemorate the Year of the Rat, they chose
festive lanterns -- in red, for luck -- which are common decorations at such
celebrations, where they are frequently hung in rows.
Kessler's design also incorporates elements from the previous series of
stamps, using Clarence Lee's intricate paper-cut design of a rat and the
Chinese character -- drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun -- for "Rat."
The Celebrating Lunar New Year stamp sheet is available for purchase in Post
Offices, on usps.com, and by calling 1-800-STAMP-24 starting tomorrow.
SOURCE U.S. Postal Service