Lunar New Year: Year of the Rat Stamps
During Lunar New Year celebrations, many homes feature brightly colored and ornately designed paper cuttings. Carrying on a tradition dating back thousands of years, these handmade pieces of art are believed to bring luck and happiness.
These decorations are usually cut out of red paper and hung on doors and windows. When hung on windows, light from outside shines through the cutouts, creating a dazzling display.
One popular paper-cut design seen during the Lunar New Year is the symbol fu, meaning “fortune” or “good luck.” And due to a simple mistake several years ago, it is often hung upside down.
As the story goes, a family accidentally hung their fu upside down. When their first guest came to visit, they shouted kindly, “Your fu is upside down!” Interestingly, in Chinese, the word for “upside down” sounds very similar to the word for “arrive.” So, the family thought they said “Your blessing has arrived.” People liked this new meaning and began hanging their fu upside down to spur the arrival of blessings.
In 2020, the U.S. Post inaugurated its third series of stamps honoring the Lunar New Year. As always, the first stamp in the new series honors the rat. The first animal in the Chinese zodiac, the rat represents the beginning of a new day, making it a fitting choice to start the 12-year cycle and the new stamp series.
Value: 63¢ 1-Ounce First-class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: January 11, 2020
Printing Method: Offset
Format: Pane of 20
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