Lunar New Year –
Year of the Ox
Issue Date: January 8, 2009
First-day City: New York, NY
Exploding across the night sky, fireworks scare away evil spirits and welcome the gods of heaven and earth during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. Festivities last for 15 days, with everyone’s birthday commemorated on the seventh day. Street markets, theatrical performances and parades featuring colorful floats, and prancing lions help usher in the New Year.
Merrymaking Green Lions dance along parade routes to the beat of a drum, cymbals and gong. Their ferocious-looking paper-mâché heads and long, colorful cloth tails are controlled by Kung Fu martial arts members. The first Green Lion dance was performed during the early Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Requiring teamwork, strength, and agility, the dance has been used as physical training for Kung Fu members since that time.
A Green Lion is featured on the 2009 Year of the Ox stamp and cachet of this cover. The second of twelve Chinese astrological signs, the Year of the Ox arrives on January 26, 2009. Ox years favor adventure and challenging new projects. People born during the Year of the Ox are said to be solid, dependable, and hardworking. Gerald Ford, Charles Chaplin, and Walt Disney are some of the famous people born during the Year of the Ox.