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Category: Industry News, Royal Mail, magnetic, personality, curious, clever, office
Royal Mail has issued a limited-edition stamp sheet available online and in selected Post Office branches across the UK to mark the Lunar New Year - The year of Monkey.
Twenty 1st Class fireworks stamps feature alongside labels of intricate designs and iconic imagery relevant to the Lunar New Year.
Fifth in a series of sheets celebrating the Lunar New Year, the sheet contains five images of past Lunar New Year celebrations in the UK cities of Swansea, Stirling, Birmingham, Liverpool and London.
Set against a red background, a colour synonymous with good fortune in China, the sheet also contains images of monkey characters representing the five elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth.
Other images include Chinese lanterns, a temple roof, colourful dragons and a character from a Chinese New Year performance.
The Monkey ranks ninth of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac in which each year is related to an animal sign according to a 12-year-cycle. Individuals born under this sign are likely to be intelligent, have a magnetic personality, mischievous, curious, and clever. The Year of the Monkey covers people born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 and 2004.
The Year of the Monkey started on 8 February 2016 and end on 27 January 2017.
Philip Parker, Royal Mail spokesperson, said: “Throughout Britain, communities mark the Lunar New Year with parades, fire crackers and family celebrations. The Royal Mail stamp sheet for Year of the Monkey adds to these vibrant celebrations.”
London boasts one of the oldest Chinese communities in the UK with records showing some of the earliest settlers in Bow, east London.
Today there are significant Chinese communities in cities all across the country, most notably London; Manchester; Birmingham; Liverpool; Sheffield and Edinburgh – with most featuring a Chinatown - an area rich in Chinese culture and business.
The 2011 Census reported that there were 426,847 residents in Great Britain of people of Chinese origin. Cantonese is the predominant language spoken by Chinese living in the UK, followed by Mandarin Chinese and Hakka Chinese.
Preparing for Chinese New Year
A few days before Chinese New Year, every family spring cleans their entire house to get the house fresh and tidy for the upcoming year. On New Year’s Eve, a feast is prepared with dishes symbolising luck and prosperity.
Children and relatives all return home early to sit down and have a family reunion dinner. The dinner symbolises a sense of togetherness that will follow them through the New Year.
Traditionally, the dinner includes fish as the word fish sounds like another Chinese character which means ‘be blessed every year’ or ‘having something left over’ to symbolise that the family will have money and possessions to take them into the New Year. Many lucky sounding dishes are prepared and eaten at the reunion dinner.
The house is decorated with ‘Fei Chun’ or ‘Chun Tie’, with New Year Greeting messages, typically in red, and fresh flowers such as pink cherry blossom branches, yellow daffodils or silver willow branches to celebrate the beginning of life and the New Year.
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