A buck to the Year of the Goat

Updated: 2014-12-03 06:58

By LIU CHANG in Washington(China Daily USA)

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A buck to the Year of the Goat

Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios unveils two new Lucky Money products at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing press conference on Tuesday in Washington. LIU CHANG / CHINA DAILY

The Year of the Goat may be 2015, but the number 8 is in the spotlight as the United States Treasury celebrates Chinese culture with its latest issuance of Lucky Money.

US Treasurer Rosie Rios unveiled two new Lucky Money products Tuesday at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. The Year of the Goat printing features a $1 bill with a serial number beginning with 8888. The Dragon Phoenix-Circle of Fortune offering is an uncirculated $100 bill with a serial number also beginning with 8888.

Both commemorative products are available on the Treasury's moneyfactorystore.gov website.

"This lucky money product is exquisitely designed with decorative Chinese symbolism, and is packaged in an enhanced red folder with gold foil and embossing," the site says of the $1 offering, which sells for $5.95. The $100 comes in similar packaging and sells for $135.88. It is protected with "an acid-free, clear polymer sleeve".

"In many Asian communities, the number eight signifies wealth and prosperity," Rios said. "And the pairing of the Dragon and the Phoenix symbolizes good luck and unity.

"For us, this $100 note is one of the most advanced and sophisticated notes ever produced in the history of money," Rios said. "It symbolizes grace, sophistication, technology. So we are proud of this note.

"We value very much the celebration of the Chinese New Year," she said. "The Chinese community has requested every year for us to continue releasing these souvenirs. We know that the Chinese New Year in 2015 falls on Feb 19. Knowing this is a holiday tradition for many people, we would like to encourage and participate it."

Leonard Olijar, deputy director of the bureau, sees similarities between American and Chinese people in the sense of good wishes based on superstitions.

"We believe any type of rain is good," he said. "We believe that four-leaf clover is fortunate. I hope the Sino-US relationship continues to grow in the Year of the Goat. We can grow the world economy stronger and better."

The Chinese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, with each year associated with an animal sign. The 12 animal signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The selection and order of the animals was originated in the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD) and based upon each animal's character and living habits. The goat is the eighth zodiac symbol associated with the Chinese Lunar Calendar.

Some Chinese believe their fate is closely tied to the zodiac symbols of their birth year. Folklore says that people born in the Year of the Goat are tender, polite, filial and kind-hearted.

The Lucky Money Collection Line goes back to 2000. Twenty-five lucky money products have been produced since then.