Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell pulls a string to reveal the new Year of the Dragon Forever stamp at the International District Communtiy Center on January 25, 2024. Others in attendance, left to right: City Councilmember Tanya Woo; Dylan Hartono, OCA Greater Seattle Co-Treasurer; Joël Barraquiel Tan, Executive Director of the Wing Luke Museum; Connie So, UW Professor & OCA Seattle President; Eduardo Ruiz Jr. Vice President Retail and Delivery Operations – WESTPAC Area USPS; Mayor Harrell; Claudine Cheng, Attorney Former National President of OCA; and the translator for the event. Photo by Theo Bickel.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) unveiled a new Year of the Dragon Lunar New Year stamp January 25 at the International District Community Center, in collaboration with OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates of Greater Seattle.

“For many Asian Americans, the Lunar New Year celebrates a chance to leave behind the troubles of the past year and invite prosperity and good luck moving forward,” said Connie So, professor at the University of Washington and president of OCA Greater Seattle. “This Year of the Dragon stamp ceremony recognizes the importance of the diversity and cultural significance Asian Americans bring to the United States and provides Seattle an opportunity to promote the significance of the Lunar New Year.”

The Lunar New Year festival is a celebration of renewal and the coming of spring for many people of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan, and Mongolian heritage around the world. 2024 marks the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, the fifth of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and its only mythical creature.

Spectators look on as dancers from the Mak Fai Lion and Dragon Dance Team perform. Photo by Theo Bickel.
Performers from the Mak Fai Lion and Dragon Dance Team pose with local leaders. Photo by Theo Bickel.
Dancers from the Seattle Chinese Folk Dance Group perform during the unveiling of the Year of the Dragon stamp. Photo by Theo Bickel.
Seattle City Councilmember Tanya Woo performs during the unveiling of the Year of the Dragon stamp. Photo by Theo Bickel.

The idea for a commemorative stamp honoring Chinese American culture was first proposed by OCA-Georgia President, Jean Chen in 1986 and Claudine Cheng, OCA National
President, in 1991. The USPS produced the successful Year of the Rooster stamp in 1993.

Clarence Lee of Hawaii designed the first Lunar New Year stamp series from 1993 to 2005, Kam Mak of New York designed the second stamp series from 2008 to 2019, and Camille Chew of New York has designed the third series.

To design the stamp, Chew built a dragon mask from hand-painted paper, adding paper flowers and tassels to it and photographing it on a white background. Her design uses the auspicious color of red, and gold, signifying prosperity.

The 2024 Year of the Dragon stamp designed by Camille Chew. Photo by Theo Bickel.
A USPS employee helps a customer during the unveiling of the Year of the Dragon stamp. Photo by Theo Bickel.

According to USPS, the Year of the Dragon is the fifth Forever stamp in that series, which will continue through 2031 with stamps for the Year of the Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.

The USPS’ Lunar New Year stamps have been some of the agency’s most successful, according to Eduardo H. Ruiz, Jr., USPS vice president of retail and delivery operations for the Postal Service’s WESTPAC Area.

Since 1993, OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and USPS have chosen different sites to unveil the latest Lunar New Year stamp, and Seattle was chosen this year. The unveiling event featured Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Wing Luke Museum Executive Director Joël Barraquiel Tan, and dragon dance performances by Mak Fai Lion Dance Team. The event was co-sponsored by Chinese Information Services Center, Bellevue Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Cathay Bank, Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Chong Wa Benevolent Association, Friends of China Town, Joyale Restaurant, UW American Ethnic Studies Department (Seattle), United Chinese of Washington, Wing Luke Museum.

Customers may purchase stamps and other philatelic products through the Postal Store, by calling 844-737-7826 or at Post Office locations nationwide. For officially licensed stamp products, shop the USPS Officially Licensed Collection on Amazon.

The new Year of the Dragon Forever stamp in action. Photo by Theo Bickel.
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