2017 47c Year of the Rooster
On January 28, 2017, the Chinese Lunar Calendar changed to the Year of the Rooster, the tenth animal in the zodiac.
During Chinese New Year celebrations, hong bao, red envelopes containing money, are gifted to children and unmarried adults. The color of the envelope is a symbol of good luck and happiness and is believed to ward off evil spirits. The money inside is traditionally new or crisp notes and the amount usually ends in an even number. Odd numbers and amounts with the number four are generally avoided because they are associated with funerals – in Mandarin, “four” is phonetically similar to “death.”
Legend has it that gifting red envelopes of money became common after a village was ravaged by a demon who attacked children at night – killing or making them very sick. One family prayed to their god to protect their newborn child and were sent eight fairies (disguised as gold coins) to put under the child’s pillow. The coins shielded the baby and blinded the demon, causing him to flee. Word spread and other children were given coin-filled red envelopes to put under their pillows so they too would be protected.
Today, red envelopes are gifted to express affection and wish the recipient a happy and prosperous new year.
Issued: January 5, 2017
First Day City: Seattle, WA
Type of Stamp: First Class Mail
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America
Method: Offset, Microprint
Quantity Printed: 15,000,000