Lunar New Year 2020 - Year of the Rat
The fifth issue in our Lunar New Year stamp series celebrates the lunar Zishu year (2020) which is the Year of the Rat. Also known as the Spring Festival, it is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. It is celebrated by Chinese and ethnic communities around the world and is a time when families come together.
In Chinese culture,rats are seen as a sign of fertility, wealth and surplus. They are clever, quick thinkers and often successful. People born in the year of the Zishu ratare multi-talented. They are strong-willed and always finish what they begin.
The stamp denotes the Chinese fable Rat Biting Started the World. In Chinese culture, it is said that before the beginning of the world there was only chaos. Legend has it the Rat bravely took a bite out of the sky, sunlight came in through the opening, then Yin separated from Yang, and the world started. The stamp features a bowl that symbolises the world, which the rat opens from within. The Chinese seal which appears on the left side of the illustration symbolises the rat.
The Miniature Sheet depicts part of a Chinese folk story, which fables a rat marrying off his daughter to the most powerful suitor, also known as Mouse of Marriage. The illustration portrays the daughter rat sitting inside the palanquin (Jiao) as she is carried to her wedding ceremony. The whole scene is joyful and lively.