Year Of The Monkey Issue

Year Of The Monkey Issue
The United States Postal Service welcomes in the Year of the Monkey with a new nondenominated (49¢) forever stamp that features red-orange peonies from artist Kam Mak, and a small cut-paper image of a monkey based on a previously used design by artist Clarence Lee.

The Lunar New Year stamp for the Year of the Monkey has an issue date of Feb. 5. The self-adhesive stamps are offered in panes of 12 with decorative selvage that includes each of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac as small cut paper illustrations.

Am enlargement of the monkey figure, partially obscured, peeks out above the block of 12 stamps of the pane. A first-day ceremony was held on Friday t 11 a.m. at St. John's University's D'Angelo Center, 8000 Utopia Parkway, Jamaica, N.Y.

The dedicating official scheduled to represent the U.S. Postal Service was Richard P. Uluski, area vice president for the Northeastern area. The peony depicted on the stamp is the national flower of China, and can be used to symbolize prosperity, beauty, and peace--appropriate sentiments for the approach of a new year.

It also appears as a decoration on drums played during holiday festivities, according to the United States Postal Service. The small gold monkey adorns the upper left corner of the stamp illustration. The stamp's issue date is just three days before the Year of the Monkey as welcomed by those who follow the traditional Chinese calendar. The Year of the Monkey will run from Feb 8 until Jan. 27, 2017.

As the Postal Service reports "As 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."

Images associated with some of these wide-spread customs are depicted in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series. The current New Year stamp series is the second for the United States Postal Service. The first, featuring larger examples of the cut-paper animal illustrations by artist Clarence Lee against a variety of colorful backgrounds, began in 992 and ended in 2006. Lee died in 2015.

Lunar New Year is the first day of a secular, sacred, or other year whose months are coordinated by the cycles of the moon. The whole year may account to a purely lunar calendar, which is not coordinated to a solar calendar (and, thus, may progress or retrogress through the solar year by comparison to it, depending on whether the lunar calendar has more or fewer than 13 months); or the year may account to a lunisolar calendar, whose months coordinate to the cycles of the moon but whose length is periodically adjusted to keep it relatively in sync with the solar year - typically by adding an intercalary month, when needed.

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