U.S. # 4726
2013 45¢ Year of the Snake
Celebrating Lunar New Year Series
February 10, 2013, marked the beginning of the Year of the Snake. The New Year is ushered in with lots of noise. Firecrackers and fireworks are as much a part of the festivities as the parades in the streets.
According to legend, long ago a monster called Nian attacked and destroyed villages each spring. One year, the townspeople threw bamboo in a fire and scared the monster away with the loud popping sounds. Every year after that, bamboo fires kept Nian at a distance.
When gunpowder was invented around the ninth century, firecrackers replaced bamboo and increased the volume of the holiday. Fireworks create an uproar on a grander scale than little firecrackers, and they are accompanied by a spectacular show. The New Year begins at the stroke of midnight with dazzling fireworks displays. People of all ages gather in the streets to watch and wish family and friends “smiles of fortune” or “wealth pouring in from all directions.” No traditional Chinese New Year celebration is complete without fireworks.
Art director Ethel Kessler combined artwork by Kam Mak with Clarence Lee’s paper-cut snake design and Lau Bun’s calligraphy to create the 2013 Year of the Snake stamp. The paper-cut snake and calligraphy are the same style as previous issues in the series.
Value: 45¢ first class letter rate
Issued: January 16, 2013
First Day City: San Francisco, CA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Avery Dennison
Method: Photogravure printing in sheets of 108, with 9 panes of 12
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 31,200,000 stamps
The Year of the Snake stamp is the sixth of 12 in the Celebrating Lunar New Year Series. The U.S.P.S. issued its first Lunar New Year stamps in 1992. The current series began in 2008 with each stamp picturing artwork of objects relating to New Year celebrations.