Year of the Horse stamp issued

Updated: 2014-01-16 08:37

By YU WEI in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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As the Chinese calendar will soon move from the Year of the Snake to the Year of the Horse, the United States Postal Service (USPS) today issued a "Celebrating Lunar New Year: Year of the Horse (Forever)" commemorative stamp.

The stamp goes on sale today at post offices nationwide, online at and by phone at 800-782-6724. San Francisco will host the first issue of the stamp.

"The start of the Lunar New Year is the biggest holiday of the year for much of the world's population," said Divid Stowe, USPS San Francisco district manager during the First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony at the Chinese Culture Center in San Francisco. "It's a time of great celebration and reflection for millions of Americans, including the Chinese-American community right here in San Francisco."

The original USPS series of 12 stamps in the Lunar New Year started in 1993 depicting the artwork of Clarence Lee. The Celebrating Lunar New Year series was introduced by the USPS in 2008 and will continue through 2019.

Stowe said the sales of the stamps have been outstanding that there are a lot of people in the community who look forward to each new stamp coming out.

"These stamps are very important to the community both in the US and around the world," he said. "Validation and recognition are both extremely powerful tools for people to remember where we came from and to hold on to the legacy our parents gave us."

"I really look forward to today's event because the Lunar New Year series is the expression of American culture and Asian Culture and our histories," said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

"This is not a regional celebration but a national and even international celebration of our cultural heritage," Lee said. "I would like to thank the USPS for choosing San Francisco, the innovation capital of the world, to dedicate the Year of the Horse Stamp."

Featuring traditional Chinese drums decorated with peonies, a Chinese calligraphic character for "horse" and the paper cut design of the horse, the 2014 stamp is the seventh stamp in the series.

Kam Mak, the official painter of the annual Chinese New Year's stamp for the USPS, said the idea of choosing the traditional Chinese drum as the central element to adorn the year of the horse stamp came from his childhood memories.

"As a kid growing up in Hong Kong, hearing the sound of the Chinese drumming in the lion dance performance lifted up my spirits for the new year," Mak said. "The strength of the drum sound is the heartbeat of the lion, what a beautiful and powerful sound to usher in the new year."

The Chinese-American artist said the inspiration of his concept for the whole Lunar New Year series was based on his personal experiences.

"By emphasizing the Lunar New Year elements as the central image in the design, it allows me to tell a much richer story about the holiday and all the beautiful things that I remember and enjoyed," he explained.

Liang Deming, a Chinese immigrant from Guangzhou, said she and her husband are both stamp collectors. Liang said she still vividly remembers when the first series of Lunar New Year stamps came out.

"I was so exited to see them issued because not only do I collect them, but it is also an acknowledgement of our presence in this country," Liang said. "For me, it means a lot more than just a stamp."