A few years ago I decide to start a new thematic stamps collection dedicated to the topic of the Chinese New Lunar Year.

This blog have now the objective to share with all of you this new thematic stamps collection initiated in 2007 with the Year of the Rat.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Statistics 2012…

Published comments: 4
Posts: 13
Followers: 5
People from 101 different countries have visited this site.
Newest country: Timor-Leste
Last new visitor: Canada (Ontario)
New unique visitors record: 44 on January 22, 2012
Top five countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Malaysia and Australia

New Year 2013

I want to wish you all a wonderful new year 2013!
That 2013 can bring you all Good Health, Happiness, Success and Joy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Year's Eve Dinner

As at all traditional Chinese gatherings, food plays an important role in the Chinese New Year Festival. Dinners tend to be very elaborate involving tables laden with auspicious foods.
On New Year's Eve, families have a reunion feast which includes nian gao, a sticky rice pudding cake which is said to make people "advance toward higher positions and prosperity step by step." A New Year's Eve tradition from Northern China, dumplings (jiao zi), look like the golden ingots yuan bao used during the Ming Dynasty for money and the name sound like the word for the earliest paper money, so serving them brings the promise of wealth and prosperity!

Many families eat these at midnight so they have money at the changing of the years. Some cooks will hide a clean coin in one for the most lucky to find. Long noodles are used to guarantee that all at the table will have a long life.
It is typical for a Chinese family to make eight to nine dishes for the New Year's Eve dinner. The reason for this is because in the Chinese dialect of Cantonese the word for eight is baat, which rhymes with faat, the word for prosperity, says Young. The Chinese word for "nine" means "long-lasting."

•    A whole chicken, including head and feet (It symbolizes a proper beginning and end to the year.)
•    Clams or scallops (Their shape is similar to ancient Chinese coins.)
•    Any dish featuring lettuce (The word for lettuce, saang choy, sounds like the word for "growing good fortunes.")
•    Lobster (It represents life and energy.)
•    Rice (It symbolizes well-being and good fortune.)
•    Spring rolls (Their shape is reminiscent of ancient Chinese money, which would represent wealth for the coming year.)
•    Dumplings (Also shaped like ancient Chinese coins. Some families choose to cook dumplings late at night, through the midnight hour to symbolize bringing prosperity and luck into the new year. )
•    Fish with its head and tail intact ('Fish' in Chinese is yu, which sounds like the word for wish. Also fish swim in pairs, so it represents marital bliss. The fish is served as the last course, and not all of it is eaten so there are leftovers to eat on New Year's Day. By doing this, families bring prosperity of the previous year into the new year.)

Sun Nin Fy Lok! Xin Nien Kuai Le!

The first is Cantonese; the second, Mandarin. Both are literally "New Year Happiness!" or "Happy New Year!"

According to the Chinese Zodiac, there are five elements of the dragon; Metal Dragons – 1940 and 2000, Wood Dragons – 1904 and 1964, Fire Dragons – 1916 and 1976, Earth Dragons – 1928 and 1988, and Water Dragons – 1952 and 2012.
According to Chinese tradition, the Dragon is the mightiest of the signs and it occupies the fifth position of the Chinese Zodiac.
Each type of dragon has specific attributes, but those born under the Water Dragon sign are said to be able to see things from other points of view.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2008 Year of the Rat - Hong Kong

Set of stamps
Miniature sheet
Souvenir sheet

Souvenir sheet (gold issue)
This is the ninth Lunar New Year special stamp issue in the third series released by Hongkong Post. The first and second sets of special stamps for the Year of the Rat were issued in 1972 and 1996 respectively.

Each lunar year in China is named after an animal, running in twelve-year cycles. As the Rat is the first animal in the sequence, the cycle will begin again in 2008. In traditional Chinese culture, the Rat is a symbol of intelligence and agility. People born under this sign are considered to be sharp-witted, cheerful and amiable, they make friends easily.

The four stamps come in denominations of $1.4, $2.4, $3 and $5, and depict four cute and smart rats. To enhance the gradation of light and shade and accentuate the three-dimensional effect, five-colour printing is used on the stamps to highlight the image detail of the rats against a background embellished with silver foliage.

The First Day Cover design presents an interesting combination of paper-cutting and computer aided drawing. The paper-cut pattern gives a note of festivity, and the cute rat in the front heralds the Year of the Rat.

Gold and Silver Stamp Sheetlet on Lunar New Year Animals – Pig / Rat
As symbols of wealth and status, gold and silver have always been treasured by all people. Gold and silver philatelic products, therefore, make perfect gifts and express our wish for success and prosperity during the Lunar New Year.

The eighth issue in Hongkong Post’s Gold and Silver Stamp Sheetlet on Lunar New Year Animals series presents the Pig and the Rat. The two stamps are in a denomination of $50 and both are embossed and hot-foiled – the Pig with genuine 24-carat gold and 99.9% pure silver, and the Rat with genuine 22-carat gold and 99.9% pure silver. A certificate of authenticity is included, making the sheetlet a precious gift for the Lunar New Year.

The Chinese Lunar Calendar marks the years in a twelve-year cycle, with each year of the cycle named after an animal. It is believed that people born in the Year of the Pig are honest and straightforward, while those born in the Year of the Rat are sociable and sharp-witted.

A gradation of light and shade is used to accentuate the details of the Pig and the Rat against their brick red and sienna backgrounds, and to produce a strong three-dimensional effect.

Technical details
Serial number:
Values in set: 4
Date of issue: January 26, 2008
Stamps A set of 4 stamps ($1.4, $2.4, $3 and $5)
Miniature sheet Each containing a set of 4 stamps
Souvenir sheet Each containing a $5 imperforated stamp
Design: Bon KWAN
Gum Type: P.V.A.
Paper Type: Paper with Security Fibres
Size of the stamps: 28 mm x 45 mm
Size of the souvenir sheet: 135 mm x 85 mm
Perforations: 13.6 x 13.3
(one elliptical perforation on each vertical)
Sheet composition: 25 stamps
Printing Process: Lithography
Printing House: Cartor Security Printing, France

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2008 Year of the Rat - Canada

Souvenir sheet
Miniature sheet
First Day Cover with stamp
First Day Cover with souvenir sheet
Canada Post celebrates the Lunar New Year with two stamps honoring 2008 as the Year of the Rat. The twelfth set issued in the Lunar New Year series, the Rat marks the completion of one full cycle of the Chinese lunar calendar in stamps.
As if on cue, all twelve of the lunar calendar's animals appear on the Year of the Rat souvenir sheet, bearing gifts. They are guests at the wedding of the two featured characters. The bride, depicted on the domestic rate (52¢) stamp in rich purple attire, demurely holds a parasol against a golden background, while her groom appears on the international rate ($1.60) souvenir sheet stamp, costumed in dark blue, and holding a fan in one hand and a basket of tangerines in the other. The effect is opulent. "They are like little jewels," says Alain Leduc, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post. "The colours are bold and daring, but the red and gold are traditional in Chinese culture. In style and colour this may be the most traditional of all twelve stamp designs."
The Rat is actually the first character in the lunar calendar's twelve-year cycle, thanks to his legendary cleverness. According to the ancient tale, the Jade Emperor arranged a race across the river to determine the animals' calendar positions. Although the Rat couldn't swim, he persuaded the good-natured Ox to carry him across, and at the last minute jumped ashore ahead of him.
For the stamps, Naomi Broudo and Violet Finvers of Tandem Design Associates in Richmond, B.C., chose a different story to portray this character's resourcefulness. In "The Mouse Bride," a Chinese folk tale widely known and well loved around the world, a father mouse searches for the strongest husband for his daughter, interviewing the sun, wind, clouds and wall, but finally discovers the best candidate is a mouse from his own community. "This concept had great depth to it," says Broudo. "It allowed us to bring so many details into the design, and to incorporate other animals more prominently than had been done before."
Among the featured details are abstract representations of the failed suitors-sun, wind, clouds and wall-in the background of each stamp. Along with the intense colours, the stamps are over-printed with shimmering highlights in both pearlescent and gold foils, and all the animals are delicately embossed. Each sheet of stamps passed four times through various presses to achieve this level of detail. The result is an almost tactile sense of richness and depth, like looking at silk.
The bridal couple sparkle in their wedding finery, but lest they appear too sweet, their rodent tails curl out convincingly from under their costumes. One is reminded never to underestimate the Rat. Illustrator Harvey Chan created these clever original images entirely on the computer, in a style reminiscent of traditional woodblock printing techniques. "Harvey takes a painterly approach, and there's a whimsical quality to his work, which was perfect for this project," says Broudo.
Leduc agrees. "There's a sensitivity here you don't expect from computer work-a hand-wrought feel." It's a successful marriage, you might say, of old and new, of traditional and modern, that makes these stamps so appealing.
The Year of the Rat
A highly respected animal in Chinese culture, the Rat represents new beginnings and keen intelligence. A Year of the Rat marks a year of considerable scope and opportunity, with the launch of ambitious new idea and plans, and major breakthroughs in science and technology likely. With an emphasis on moving forward, many economies will be buoyant, and carefully considered investments will often bring good returns. However, despite any upturn, this is not a year for complacency or squandering of resources. As well as favouring family life and relationships, a Year of the Rat also brings a strong focus on leading healthier lifestyles and opportunities for personal advancement.
Are you a Rat?
You're a Rat if you were born in 1900, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 or 2008.
Rats are ingenious, charming and generous to those they love, although they do also have a tendency to be quick-tempered and critical. They make good writers, critics and publicists. Hardworking and consequently often financially well off, Rats are noted for their charm and attraction for the opposite sex. They are also likely to be perfectionists and very social, with many friends who they support in generous ways. Family is very important to Rats.

Famous people born in a Year of the Rat include Bobby Orr, Stompin' Tom Connors, David Suzuki, Margaret Trudeau, Elvis Stojko, Winston Churchill, Marlon Brando, Mozart, William Shakespeare and President George Washington.

Technical details
Serial number:
Values in set: 1
Date of issue: January 8, 2008
Stamp 1 x  52¢
Souvenir sheet 1 x 1.60
Design: Tandem Design Associates Ltd.
Gum Type: P.V.A.
Illustration: Harvey Chan (i2iArt)
Paper Type: Tullis Russell
Size of the stamp: 30 mm x 40 mm (vertical)
Size of the souvenir sheet: 135 mm x 102 mm (horizontal)
Perforations: 13+
Sheet composition: 25 stamps
Printing Process: Lithography in 9 colours plus 1 pearlescent foil and one gold foil stampings and embossing
Printing House: Lowe-Martin

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2008 Year of the Rat (Wu Zi Year) - China

Miniature sheet

Souvenir sheet
Stamps booklet

Stamps booklet (inside)
Special souvenir sheet
Technical details
Serial number: 2008-1
Values in set: 1
Date of issue: January 5, 2008
Denomination: 120 fen
Designer: Yu Ping , Ren Ping
Size of stamps: 36 x 36 mm
Perforation: 13 x 13
Sheet composition:
20 for Sheet I;
6 for Sheet II
Printing process: Photogravure
Printing House: Beijing Postage Stamp Printing Works

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Welcome to the first one hundred visitors

Here are the best Philatelic greetings to visitors from all over the world who daily visit my blog.

Chinese New Year - THE RAT

1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Rats are perfectionists. They communicate extremely well, are quick-witted, level headed and always alert. They choose their friends carefully and dote on children. Rats are great strategists and make good politicians, but most importantly, their intuition enables them to suss out the enemy quite early in the game. Rats are shrewd and know how to amass wealth. They’ll gladly spend on their loved ones while outsiders will find them miserly. Their adaptability and clever manoeuvring will see them thumbing their nose at even the tightest spot. But they can be quick-tempered and overly critical, making them edgy, nervous and a downright nag with things don’t go their way. They have an opportunistic trait that will see them wheeling and dealing in exploiting situations for self-benefit.