2016 49¢ LNY: Year of the Monkey
Celebrating Lunar New Year Series
The peony is known as huawang, or “king of the flowers,” in China. It was first popular in the imperial palaces of the Sui and Tang Dynasties between the sixth and tenth centuries, and symbolized nobility and value. The peony was so loved that the Qing Dynasty declared it the national flower of China in the early 1900s.
Today, the peony is sometimes referred to as fùguìhuā, meaning “flower of riches and honor.” A belief that the flower promises good fortune makes it popular during Chinese Lunar New Year.
Cultivating the Chinese tree peony to bloom during the mid-winter celebration is a common practice in China. Seeds are potted and raised in greenhouses. The temperature is steadily increased in an attempt to coax the plants to bloom in time for the holiday. It is estimated that a million “forced” tree peonies are grown every year.
Peony blossoms decorate everything from drums to teapots during Lunar New Year. Businesses display potted peonies and friends give them as gifts. The popular flower can be found almost everywhere during the festivities. So even if someone cannot get a hold of their own fresh winter peony, they can be sure the prosperity it offers will still find them.
Value: First-Class Mail Forever
Issued: February 5, 2016
First Day City: Jamaica, NY
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Method: Offset, Microprint in Panes of 12
Quantity Printed: 15,000,000
The 2016 49¢ LNY: Year of the Monkey stamp is the ninth issue in the Celebrate Lunar New Year Series. The stamp design recognizes the Year of the Monkey and features a red-orange peony, a popular flower in China since the sixth century. People believe the blossom brings good fortune, so it is often cultivated to bloom during the celebration of the New Year. The stamp design is based on a painting by Kam Mak.
The issue also includes Clarence Lee’s cut-paper design of a monkey and the Chinese character for monkey drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun. Each of the other stamps in the series have similar additions.