HONOLULU — The U.S. Postal Service today dedicated the Year of the Dog Forever stamp, the 11th of 12 stamps in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza.
Considered the most important holiday of the year for many Asian communities around the world, the Lunar New Year is celebrated primarily by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian heritage.
In the United States and elsewhere, the occasion is marked in various ways, including parades featuring enormous and vibrantly painted papier-mâché dragons, parties and other special events. Vendors at outdoor markets sell flowers, toys, food and other items. Musicians play drums to celebrate a time of renewed hope for the future. Many families present red envelopes (hongbao) containing money to children and loved ones.
“Today’s event is important, not only because it’s our first stamp dedication of the new calendar year, but also because it gives the Postal Service a chance to reinforce our commitment to celebrate America’s great diversity through our stamps,” said Larry Muñoz, acting vice president, Pacific Area Operations, who dedicated the stamp. “As you use these beautiful stamps to mail your letters and packages, it is our wish that the “Year of the Dog” brings each of you good health, great joy and much prosperity.”
Muñoz was joined at the stamp dedication by Douglas D.L. Chong, president, Hawaii Chinese History Center; and Pamela Young, “Mixed Plate,” KHON2-TV.
The Postal Service introduced this Celebrating Lunar New Year series in 2008 and will continue the series through 2019 with a stamp for the Year of the Boar. This is the second series honoring Lunar New Year. The first ran in 1992 to 2007. Year of the Dog is being issued as a souvenir sheet of 12 self-adhesive Forever stamps. The public is asked to share the news of the stamp using the hashtag #LunarNewYear.
Art director Ethel Kessler worked on the series with illustrator Kam Mak, a Hong Kong-born artist who grew up in New York City’s Chinatown and now lives in Brooklyn. The artwork focuses on common ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday. The Year of the Dog illustration, originally created using oil paints on panel, depicts an arrangement of lucky bamboo (Dracaena braunii). To the right is a lozenge-shaped piece of red paper with the Chinese character fu, meaning good fortune, rendered in calligraphy — a common decoration on doors and entryways during Lunar New Year festivities.
Kessler’s stamp design also incorporates two elements from the previous series of Lunar New Year stamps: Clarence Lee’s intricate cut-paper design of a dog and the Chinese character for “dog,” drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun.