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.
Photos: Stamps in US, China commemorate lunar new year
China Post released a new set of rooster-themed stamps to celebrate the Year of the Rooster based on the Chinese zodiac on January 5th.
The set includes two stamps and has a face value of 2.4 yuan ($0.34). One stamp features a running rooster, while the other displays a hen with two chickens.
2017 Lunar New Year: Year of the Rooster stamp from the China Post.Han Meilin, designer of the stamp set, said many artists enjoy painting roosters because of their colorful feathers, adding that the animal is the most popular topic of folk paintings in China, according to a report by China News Service.
Han said Chinese have a special affinity for roosters because their silhouette resembles the shape of China on a map. “The stamps symbolize family harmony,” he added.
Han, 80, who is well known for his paintings and sculptures, said he is passionate about the world, children and animals, despite the fact that he is getting older.
It is the third time that he has accepted the invitation to design Lunar New Year stamps.
The rooster is the 10th Chinese zodiac in a 12-year cycle, with the previous Year of the Rooster being in 2005.
The coming Year of the Rooster starts on Jan 28, 2017, which is Chinese Lunar New Year Day, and ends on Feb 15, 2018.
The rooster is said to be the epitome of fidelity and punctuality, as it was used to awaken people for centuries before alarm clocks were invented.
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.
Story compiled with the pictures and information from China Post, USPS, U.S. National Postal Museum, China Daily.