STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Chinese culture on US stamp

CNC
Added On March 8, 2018

The U.S. Postal Services has released a stamp featuring The Year of the Dog.
 
The stamp highlights and refreshes a lot of fond memories about Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. 
 
Let's have a look.
 
Chinese-American artist Kam Maki has been commissioned by the USPS to design the second set of Celebrating Chinese New Year stamp series since 2008.
 
The USPS' first set of 12 zodiac stamps was first introduced in 1993. 
 
SOUNDBITE (English): KAM MAKI, Artist
"We want to really highlight how beautiful our tradition is in the custom. This is the only way that I can do to especially people who don't really know about the Lunar New Year."
 
The 56-year-old artist said he specifically chose three stalks of lucky bamboo to symbolize three types of good fortune: happiness, wealth, and long life. 
 
SOUNDBITE (English): KAM MAKI, Artist
"We want to use the elements to show out the tradition that how we celebrated the Lunar New Year. So one of them is that we decorate our house with lucky bamboo… So you can look at these three bamboos and why do I use this design? I used the design because three is the most favorable combination of lucky bamboo in Chinese customs. So the three lucky bamboos mean three different blessings."
 
The zodiac series requires the designer not only to think about the composition, but also to understand Chinese culture. 
 
The issuance of Chinese zodiac stamps by the USPS is the result of a longtime effort by Chinese American communities in the United States.
 
The Organization of Chinese Americans (now OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates) started to push for the stamps in 1988.
 
SOUNDBITE (English): KAM MAKI, Artist
"This lunar year stamp series has a different meaning for us. It's incredible to see my culture being displayed on a stamp in America. It's never too late." 
 
Recognition of Chinese culture in America goes beyond stamps. 
 
In 2016, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Chinese New Year a public school holiday.
 
Maki said it was a thrill for the Chinese American community.
 
SOUNDBITE (English): KAM MAKI, Artist
"I'm so happy to see all that stuff going on, and we are promoting our culture. This country has many different cultures from different countries and we should all embrace that multiculturalism."