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Stephen F. Austin State University

Year of the Snake - Lunar New Year (January 2013)

Year of the Snake - Lunar New Year
By Vina Lee

Many folks welcome each New Year with shooting off firecrackers, red for luck. This year they highlight the U.S. Postal Service's 2013 Year of the Snake stamp. The Year of the Snake begins on February 10, 2013 and ends on January 30, 2014. The snake pictured on the stamp isn't a typical East Texas snake like the Diamondhead, Cottonmouth, Rattlesnake or Coral snake. It is Chinese.

In the United States and other cultures, the Lunar New Year is celebrated with parades and parties. Firecrackers are traditionally used to scare off evil spirits and welcome renewed hope for the future. We eat "lucky foods" such as cabbage, black-eyed peas and hog jowl. Festive lucky red paper lanterns are common decorations and are hung in rows.

"Combining original artwork by Kam Mak with two elements from the previous stamp series of Lunar New Year stamps-Clarence Lee's intricate paper-cut design of a snake and the Chinese character for "Snake," drawn in grass-style calligraphy by Lau Bun-art director, Ethel Kessler has created a culturally rich stamp design that celebrates the diversity of the American experience.The Year of the Snake stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp in self-adhesive sheets of 12. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce rate."*

*2013 Stamp Program Preview, USA Philatelic, Beyond the Perf