Postal services around the world have published stamps commemorating the Lunar New Year. Here are some of the most popular stamps for the 2019 Year of the Pig.
China has issued two different pig stamps this year.
One is a stylized single pig running on a white background, and another is a family of pigs against a red background — commemorating the family reunions that take place across China during the new year celebration.
The stamps were designed by 83-year-old artist Han Meilin of Jinan, Shandong province. Han was also the designer of the “Fuwa” dolls that were the official mascots of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Also on the pig stamp are Chinese characters 乙亥年 (Yi hai nian) which means 2019 in the Chinese calendar. The edges of a sheet of stamps (not on the stamp itself) also depict oracle bone inscriptions.
The China Post has been publishing Chinese New Year stamps since 1980 commemorating animals of the zodiac. Over the last 40 years, the stamps have come to mark how China has changed ever since its reform and opening-up. Here’s some China Post stamps from the past:
(Some of China Post’s zodiac stamps from 1980-2019)
AROUND THE WORLD
In the United States, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 2019 Year of the Boar Lunar New Year stamp that features vibrant peach blossoms against a mint green background and a smaller gold paper cut-out of a pig as well as the Chinese character for boar.
“In China, peach trees typically bloom in early February, just in time for the new year, with the striking pink blossoms marking the beginning of spring,” the USPS said in a press release.
Art director Ethel Kessler created the stamp combining flower artwork by Kam Mak, with work from previous USPS stamps including the paper cut-out design by Clarence Lee, and the Chinese calligraphy of Lau Bun, the USPS said.
The USPS issued its first series of Lunar New Year stamps from 1992-2007. It printed a second series in 2008. This year’s boar stamp is the final stamp in that series.
The Canada Post issued Year of the Pig stamps featuring the popular 16th century novel character Zhu Bajie – who is a part human, part pig. The corner of the stamps feature a Chinese blessing character in calligraphy written by Albert Ng.
In Singapore, the Singapore Post released a colorful pig design by artist Leo Teck Chong.
The New Zealand Post has issued four different stamps, each with the theme of pig in some way. One has the Chinese calligraphy for pig and another has a paper cut out of a pig.
One of the stamps shows an Arapawa pig, which is a feral pig found in New Zealand.
“The origins of the rare Arapawa pig are clouded in mystery, but it’s said that explorer Captain James Cook introduced them to New Zealand’s Arapaoa Island (in the Marlborough Sounds) when he visited almost 250 years ago,” the New Zealand post writes on its website.
And the last stamp shows an illustration of State Highway 85, in the South Island in New Zealand. This road was known as “Pig Route”, the New Zealand Post writes.
According to popular lore, the highway got the nickname during the 1880s gold rush when wild pigs would approach miners’ horses and rub their noses with them, the New Zealand Post writes.
In France, La Poste issued stamps designed by artist Chen Jiang Hong featuring illustrations of pigs, along with Chinese calligraphy for Year of the Pig.
In the United Kingdom, the Royal Mail issued 20 stamps featuring pigs and fireworks.
Five of the stamps show paper cut-outs of pigs representing metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. Five also show images of Chinese New Year festivities in U.K. cities and five other stamps show Chinese New Year imagery.
In the Philippines, the PHLPost released a stamp of a pig designed by in-house graphic artist Rodine C. Teodoro featuring a painting of a pig against a green background.
Story compiled with the pictures and information from CGTN, China Post, USPS, U.S. National Postal Museum, Canada Post, New Zealand Post, La Poste, and PHLPost.