Thursday, December 26, 2002

New stamp will depict Year of Ram

By Syd Kronish
The Associated Press

It's the Year of the Ram. According to the Chinese Lunar calendar, the celebration for the New Year begins Feb. 1, 2003, and ends Jan. 21, 2004.

To hail the celebration, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a 37-cent stamp on Jan. 15 - the 11th stamp in the award-winning series for the Lunar New Year.

This series began in 1993 with the issuance of the Year of the Rooster stamp, followed by stamps for the Year of the Dog, Boar, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake and Horse.

Stamp designer Clarence Lee has created an intricate paper-cut design of the ram for this year's illustration. The Chinese characters on the stamp translate into "Year of the Ram." The greeting "Happy New Year" in English appears at the top right. "USA 37" is at the bottom right.

Observed by people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Mongolian heritage, the traditional Chinese New Year marks the beginning of a new season for a prosperous future.

Mr. Lee, an American of Chinese descent, has designed all the stamps in the series.

First-day-of-issue covers for the 2003 Lunar New Year stamp are available by calling (800) 782-6724 after Jan. 15.

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