(UNDATED) – The U.S. Postal Service recently marked the beginning of the Lunar New Year by issuing a new Forever stamp celebrating the Year of the Rat. The stamp was dedicated during opening ceremonies of the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival, one of the largest festivals of its kind in the nation. The public is asked to share news of the stamp using the hashtag #LunarNewYear.
“For more than 100 years, we have issued stamps that celebrate the cultures of people who have come from around the world, reflecting the rich and multi-faceted heritage of America,” said Luke Grossmann, the event’s dedicating official and senior vice president, finance and strategy, U.S. Postal Service. “Ours is truly a world culture, and our stamps allow us to weave together the unique threads of our national tapestry.”
Joining Grossmann to dedicate the stamp was Hans Liang, mayor of Monterey Park, CA, who served as master of ceremonies.
Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year for many Asian communities around the world. Across these varied cultures, many traditions exist for ringing in a new year of good luck and prosperity. In communities across the United States, people shop for food and other supplies, hang decorations and ceremoniously clean their homes and streets to welcome the year with a fresh start.
The rat is the first of the 12 zodiac animal signs associated with the Chinese lunar calendar. Those born during the Year of the Rat may be seen as very clever, self-aware and highly social. The Year of the Rat begins Jan. 25, 2020, and ends Feb. 11, 2021.The Years of the Rat include 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032…
With blue as the predominant color — said to be one of the lucky colors for individuals born during the Year of the Rat — the rat mask in the stamp design incorporates elements with symbolic meaning. Several of the patterns were created with the style of Asian textiles and the circle in the center of the rat’s head represents the new moon on which the Lunar New Year begins. A pop of the very lucky color red ties the design in with other common celebratory decorations.
Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp with original artwork by Camille Chew.
The Year of the Rat stamp is the first stamp in the third series of celebrating Lunar New Year. The first series ran from 1992 to 2005 and the second series from 2008 to 2019. The Year of the Rat stamp is being sold in panes of 20. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price.
Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through The Postal Store at usps.com/shopstamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), by mail through USA Philatelic, or at Post Office locations nationwide. Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1‑ounce price. A variety of stamps and collectibles also are available at ebay.com/stamps.
Information on ordering first-day-of-issue postmarks and covers is at usps.com/shopstamps under “Collectors.”