Photos: Stamps in US, China commemorate lunar new year

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Special Stamp: 2016 Year of Monkey (China Post) Chinese New Year Special Stamp: 2016 Year of Monkey (China Post)

It’s become as much a Chinese New Year tradition as the holiday itself. Every lunar new year, both the U.S. Postal Service and the China Post issue Chinese New Year stamps, to the joy of collectors and well-wishers around the world.

China Post began issuing Chinese New Year zodiac stamps in 1980 with each year dedicated to an animal in the Chinese zodiac, beginning with the Year of Monkey and ending with the Year of Ram. Famous Chinese artist Huang Yongyu painted a monkey for the first stamp, which was proved so popular as gift that many forgeries exist.

The Year of Monkey Stamp issued by China Post in 1980.

The Year of Monkey Stamp issued by China Post in 1980.

Chinese New Year Special Stamp: 2016 Year of Monkey (China Post)

Chinese New Year Special Stamp: 2016 Year of Monkey (China Post)

The 2016 monkey stamp was released on Jan 5 and are designed by Huang Yongyu, the father of China’s first ever set of Chinese new year stamps, which were also monkey-themed, and issued in 1980.“I’m making it hilarious, a monkey with a peach and hanging on the trees,” Huang said.His designs even echo China’s latest national policy allowing for two children per couple, and shows two monkey babies with their mothers.Chinese people believe that those born in the year of the monkey are successful and good at making deals, and they don’t mind spending a lot to bring a bit of monkey-business into their home.The price of the stamps has risen 150,000 times since the 1980 release.

The U.S. Postal Service’s first Chinese New Year stamp series in 1992 included all twelve traditional animal signs. The current and second series — which began in 2008 — emphasizes holiday traditions.

Photo: Chinese New Year & Stamps

[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_ndwf-fxneefs5565074.jpg]2110
Chinese New Year Special Stamp: 2016 Year of Monkey (China Post)
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_eeow-fxneefv9070336.jpg]1640
Chinese New Year Special Stamp: 2016 Year of Monkey (China Post)
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_586504-l1-1.jpg]1481YEAR OF THE MONKEY (2016, Issued by USPS)
In 2016 the U.S. Postal Service will ring in the Year of the Monkey by issuing the ninth of 12 stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Monkey begins on February 8, 2016, and ends on January 27, 2017.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_untitled.png]1322YEAR OF THE MONKEY (2016, Issued by USPS)
In 2016 the U.S. Postal Service will ring in the Year of the Monkey by issuing the ninth of 12 stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Monkey begins on February 8, 2016, and ends on January 27, 2017.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_1st-round-of-new-year-stamp.png]4120The 1st Round of Chinese New Year Stamps Collection by China Post
The first Round of Chinese New Year Zodiac Stamps was issued from 1980, the year of Monkey, to 1991, the year of Ram.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_2nd-round-of-new-year-stamp-a.png]3530The 2nd Round of Chinese New Year Stamps Collection by China Post (Part 1)
The second Round of Chinese New Year Zodiac Stamps was issued from 1992, the year of Monkey, to 2003, the year of Ram.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_2-round-of-new-year-stamp-b.png]3070The 2nd Round of Chinese New Year Stamps Collection by China Post (Part 2)
The second Round of Chinese New Year Zodiac Stamps was issued from 1992, the year of Monkey, to 2003, the year of Ram.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_3-round-of-new-year-stamp.jpg]2820The 3rd Round of Chinese New Year Stamps Collection by China Post
The third Round of Chinese New Year Zodiac Stamps was issued from 1992, the year of Monkey, to 2003, the year of Ram.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_05a38ced-b861-4780-af65-70dfca23af02.jpg]25802015 Year of Ram Stamp by China Post
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_2008.jpg]2370YEAR OF THE RAT (2008, Issued by USPS)
On January 9, 2008, in San Francisco, California, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 41–cent, Celebrating Lunar New Year: Year of the Rat commemorative stamp, designed by Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland.<br />In observance of the Lunar New Year holiday, the U.S. Postal Service introduced a new series of Lunar New Year stamps beginning in 2008. The series will continue through 2019 with stamps issued consecutively to celebrate the Year of the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.<br />Ethel Kessler worked on the new series with illustrator Kam Mak of Brooklyn, New York, and chose festive red lanterns that are common decoration at such celebrations where they are frequently hung in rows. Kessler also incorporated elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps designed by Clarence Lee of Honolulu, Hawaii, who created paper–cut designs for all of the twelve animals associated with the Chinese lunar calendar as well as the calligraphy Chinese characters drawn by Lau Bun, also of Honolulu.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_2009.png]2200YEAR OF THE OX (2009, Issued by USPS)
Art director Ethel Kessler worked on the new series with illustrator Kam Mak, an artist who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn. They decided to focus on some of the common ways the Lunar New Year Holiday is celebrated. To commemorate the Year of the Ox, which begins January 26, 2009, they chose a lion head of a type often worn at parades and other festivities. Dancers wear such heads, often made of papier-mâché and bamboo, as they perform for delighted crowds. “Being a Chinese American and having celebrated Lunar New Year all his life,” Kessler says, “Kam is uniquely able to show how this holiday is observed in America.” The illustration was originally created using oil paints on a fiberboard panel.<br />Kessler’s design also incorporates elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps, using Clarence Lee’s intricate paper-cut design of an ox and the Chinese character—drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun—for “Ox.”
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_2010.png]1890YEAR OF THE TIGER (2010, Issued by USPS)
Art director Ethel Kessler worked on the new series with illustrator Kam Mak, an artist who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn. They decided to focus on some of the common ways the Lunar New Year Holiday is celebrated. To commemorate the Year of the Tiger, which begins February 14, 2010, they chose narcissus flowers, considered auspicious at any time of year and thus especially appropriate at this time of renewed hope for the future. “Being a Chinese American and having celebrated Lunar New Year all his life,” Kessler says, “Kam is uniquely able to show how this holiday is observed in America.” The illustration was originally created using oil paints on a fiberboard panel.<br />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.”
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_lny2011.png]1830YEAR OF THE RABBIT (2011, Issued by USPS)
Art director Ethel Kessler worked on the series with illustrator Kam Mak, an artist who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn. The artwork focuses on some of the common ways the Lunar New Year Holiday is celebrated. For the Year of the Rabbit, which begins February 3, 2011, the art depicts kumquats, which are eaten for luck and given as holiday gifts. The illustration was originally created using oil paints on panel.<br />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 rabbit and the Chinese character — drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun — for “Rabbit.”
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_lny2012-forever-single.png]1750YEAR OF THE DRAGON (2012, Issued by USPS)
Dragons aren’t always scary monsters. Consider the colorful creature depicted by the U.S. Postal Service in its 2012 Year of the Dragon stamp, fifth in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series! The Year of the Dragon begins on January 23, 2012, and ends on February 9, 2013.<br />Across many cultures, in the United States as elsewhere, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in various ways, often with parades and parties. By tradition, dragons are not feared, but are considered magical or divine — welcome symbols at this time of renewed hope for the future. Performing before delighted crowds, skilled teams of dancers manipulate colorful dragon figures such as the one depicted in the stamp art. Lucky foods are eaten — kumquats, for example (issued in 2011) — and given as gifts. Festive lanterns, colored red for luck (issued in 2008), are common decorations at Lunar New Year celebrations, where they are frequently hung in rows.<br />Combining original artwork by Kam Mak with two elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps — Clarence Lee’s intricate paper-cut design of a dragon and the Chinese character for “Dragon,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun — art director Ethel Kessler has created a culturally rich stamp design that celebrates the diversity of the American experience.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_lny2013-snake-forever-single.png]1730YEAR OF THE SNAKE (2013, Issued by USPS)
It’s good to welcome the New Year with a bang! A bundle of firecrackers—colored red for luck—highlight the U.S. Postal Service’s 2013 Year of the Snake stamp, sixth in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Snake begins on February 10, 2013, and ends on January 30, 2014.<br />Across many cultures, in the United States as elsewhere, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in various ways, often with parades and parties. Firecrackers are traditionally used to scare off evil spirits and welcome this time of renewed hope for the future. Lucky foods are eaten—kumquats, for example (issued in 2011)—and given as gifts. Festive lanterns, colored red for luck (issued in 2008), are common decorations at Lunar New Year celebrations, where they are frequently hung in rows.<br />Combining original artwork by Kam Mak with two elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps—Clarence Lee’s intricate paper-cut design of a snake and the Chinese character for “Snake,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun—art director Ethel Kessler has created a culturally rich stamp design that celebrates the diversity of the American experience.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_2014.png]1610YEAR OF THE HORSE (2014, Issued by USPS)
Around the world, a new year is welcomed with noise! Chinese drums, with drumsticks painted red for luck, highlight the U.S. Postal Service’s 2014 Year of the Horse stamp, seventh in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Horse begins on January 31, 2014, and ends on February 18, 2015.<br />Across many cultures, in the United States as elsewhere, the Lunar New Year is celebrated in various ways, often with parades and parties. Firecrackers are traditionally used to scare off evil spirits and welcome this time of renewed hope for the future. Lucky foods are eaten — kumquats, for example (issued in 2011) — and given as gifts. Festive lanterns, colored red for luck (issued in 2008), are common decorations at Lunar New Year celebrations, where they are frequently hung in rows.<br />Combining original artwork by Kam Mak with two elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps — Clarence Lee’s intricate paper-cut design of a horse and the Chinese character for “Horse,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun — art director Ethel Kessler has created a culturally rich stamp design that celebrates the diversity of the American experience.
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/celebrating-lunar-new-year/thumbs/thumbs_lny2015-forever-single-bgv1.png]1640YEAR OF THE RAM (2015, Issued by USPS)
Ring in the Lunar New Year with treats, noise, and celebration! A wooden candy tray, known as the chuen-hop or Tray of Togetherness, highlights the U.S. Postal Service®’s 2015 Year of the Ram stamp, eighth in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The Year of the Ram begins on February 19, 2015, and ends on February 7, 2016.<br />In the United States and elsewhere, the occasion is marked in various ways across many cultures; parades featuring enormous and vibrantly painted papier-mâché dragons, parties, and other special events are common. Many families set out a candy tray, like the one depicted in the stamp art, to provide guests with an assortment of dried fruits and candies for a sweet beginning to the new year. Drums are played to celebrate this time of renewed hope for the future, with drumsticks sometimes painted red for luck. Firecrackers are set off to ward off evil spirits. Red envelopes (hong bao) containing money are given as gifts to children and loved ones.<br />Combining original artwork by Kam Mak with two elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps — Clarence Lee’s intricate cut-paper design of a ram and the Chinese character for “ram,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun — art director Ethel Kessler has created a culturally rich stamp design that celebrates the diversity of the American experience.

Story compiled with the pictures and information from China Post, USPS, U.S. National Postal Museum, China Daily.