The use of animals to mark the 12 components of the Lunar New Year cycle originates from the Chinese Lunar Calendar, dating back more than 2,000 years. The 12 symbolic animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Traditionally, each lunar year is named after an animal. This, coupled with the combination of ten heavenly stems and twelve earthly branches, forms the Jiazi (60 years) cycle.
2012 is the Year of the Dragon. In traditional Chinese culture, the Dragon is an auspicious, mythical creature incarnated as an emperor, representing supreme power and commanding great respect. It is believed that people born in the Year of the Dragon are confident, courageous and clever.
The “Year of the Dragon” is the first Lunar New Year special stamp issue in the fourth series released by Hongkong Post. The four stamps depict the Dragon in various forms – a fire dragon spiked with glowing joss sticks ($1.40), a glittering statue of a golden dragon ($2.40), a spirited dragon performing the traditional dragon dance ($3) and a lifelike dragon engraved on a stone wall ($5). The focus of the stamp sheet let falls on the flying dragon that rides on the clouds and travels through the mist, delivering a sense of solemnity and holiness. Rendered in vibrant colours, the stamps are decorated with gold foiled auspicious clouds to convey an air of festivity. Hongkong Post also launches its first-ever silk stamp sheet let for the occasion. A symbol of nobility and elegance, silk is perfect for highlighting the imperial grandeur of a soaring dragon, which heralds a blissful Year of the Dragon.
Title: Year of Dragon – Hongkong
Date of Issue: 14 January 2012
Denominations: $1.40, $2.40, $3, $5