Continuing with recent New Year traditions, Jersey Post will be issuing a new Lunar New Year stamp issue ‘Lunar New Year – Year of the Dragon’ on Thursday 4th January. The issue comprises a single stamp and a miniature sheet. Illustrated by Deputy Chief Designer of the Postage Stamp Printing Bureau of China Post, Wang Huming. Wang has created the designs for each of the issues in Jersey Post’s Lunar New Year series. The designs are based on a Chinese style of painting and paper cutting. This issue forms the ninth part in Jersey Post’s series celebrating the Lunar New Year, preceded by Year of the Rabbit (2023), Year of the Tiger (2022), Year of the Ox (2021), Year of the Rat (2020), Year of the Pig (2019), Year of the Dog (2018), Year of the Rooster (2017) and Year of the Monkey (2016).
The Lunar New Year, also known as China’s Spring Festival, is one of the biggest celebrated points of the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the lunar month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In 2024, the first day of the Lunar New Year falls on Saturday, 10th February. Observed predominantly by Chinese and ethnic communities worldwide, it is an important time for communities and families to get together. The cycle is repeated every twelve years with an animal from the Chinese zodiac representing the yearly cycle, and 2024 is the Year of the Dragon. As the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is the only zodiac animal which is a mythical creature, and is usually used as a symbol of power in China. Dragons are also seen as a symbol of good fortune, and those born within the year are considered naturally lucky and gifted.
The image on the £1.65 stamp for the Lunar New Year – Year of the Dragon features a gold dragon, with a sharp red background. Golden dragons have been associated with powerful deities and harvest in Chinese culture. Additionally, red is seen as a colour of prosperity and joy. Dragon’s play a major role in Chinese history and mythology, seen as both creators and destroyers who can control the elements. In this issue, Wang Huming’s art does an excellent job at ensuring the Chinese dragon’s mystic quality is on full display.
The miniature sheet depicts a detailed Chinese dragon flying through the clouds. Wang Fu a Chinese historian and philosopher during the Eastern Han Dynesty suggested that the Chinese dragon’s unique appearance is due to it being a combination of many different animal features. These features include heads which are in similar shape to a camel, the ears of a bull, the antlers of a stag, the body of a snake, the armoured body belly of a clam, feet similar to a tigers, talons of an eagle and a body that includes the protective scales of a carp. Scholars have disputed why Chinese dragons have been deciphered this way, with some suggestions being due to a unification of the different tribes.
Jersey Post’s Lunar New Year – Year of the Dragon stamps will be available to buy from all branches of Jersey Post from 4 January 2024. Philatelic stamp products such as miniature sheets, first day covers and presentation packs will be available from the Jersey post offices at Broad Street, St Helier and Rue Des Pres, St Saviour on issue day and can be ordered now at www.jerseystamps.com. Alternatively, you can email the Jersey Philatelic Bureau at email@example.com or telephone us on: +44(0) 1534 616717.