Own a Year of the Monkey Mint Stamp Sheet
The Chinese Lunar New Year has long been a popular subject on stamps from around the world. One of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar, it’s a two-week festival celebrating the end of winter and the start of spring. Celebrations include the Lantern Festival and popular activities such paper cutting, writing poems, lighting firecrackers, and giving money in red paper envelopes. Many people also use this time to clean their homes to sweep away ill fortune and make way for incoming good luck.
You can own a neat mint stamp sheet honoring the Year of the Monkey. People who are born in the Year of the Monkey are believed to be inventive and curious. They like to solve difficult problems and are good at making decisions. Because of their curiosity and intelligence, “monkeys” make good scientists and inventors.
History of the Chinese Lunar New Year
New Year is the most important traditional Chinese holiday. The celebration is commonly called “Lunar New Year” because the Chinese calendar is based on phases of the moon. Each year in the 12-year cycle has an animal from the Chinese zodiac associated with it.
According to legend, the animals of the Chinese zodiac were the first 12 to finish a race held by the Jade Emperor. The race was across a wide river, so the rat and cat (who were poor swimmers) convinced the ox into carrying them on his back. However, the rat tricked the cat and pushed him off the ox’s back and into the river.
When the ox reached the opposite bank, the rat jumped down and crossed the finish line, becoming the first animal of the zodiac. The cat was swept away by the river and never finished. It’s said this is why cats always chase rats. Each animal finished the race in a different way, depending on his or her character traits. This tale inspired the idea of people born in a particular year sharing the traits of that year’s zodiac animal.
After the ox crossed, the tiger was close behind. It ran a good race but was slowed by the river’s current sending it off-course. The rabbit grew tired crossing the river, but jumped on a floating log, finishing fourth. Just behind the rabbit was the dragon (the only mythical creature in the group), which abandoned the race early on to put out a fire nearby. When it returned to the race, it saw the rabbit struggling to finish and used its breath to help the rabbit across the finish line before finishing fifth itself.
The horse was close behind the dragon and expected to finish sixth, only to realize that the snake had wrapped itself around its leg. As the horse neared the finish line, the snake uncoiled itself and scared the horse, allowing the snake to finish six and the horse seventh. The sheep, monkey, and rooster worked together to cross the river on a small raft. Once they reached the shore, they dashed to the finish line, with the sheep arriving first, followed by the monkey and then the rooster. Meanwhile, the playful dog had spent most of the race splashing about in the water, but eventually crossed in 11th place. As for the pig, it got hungry during the race and stopped for food. It then got tired and took a nap. The Emperor nearly gave up, but the pig eventually crossed the finish line to become the 12th animal in the zodiac.