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San Francisco shows its New Year stamp at City Hall event

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-02-11 23:59
San Francisco Mayor London Breed (right) joins other city officials and community members to unveil the stamp of the Year of the Pig on Thursday at City Hall. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

San Francisco officials joined community members to unveil the commemorative stamp of the Year of the Pig to celebrate the Lunar New Year in City Hall.

The stamp, featuring bright-pink peach blossoms, a cut-paper design of a boar and the Chinese character for "pig" drawn in grass-style calligraphy, is the 12th and final stamp in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series launched by the US Postal Service (USPS) in 2008.

Peach blossoms, like those depicted in the stamp art, are of particular significance during this time of year. In China, peach trees typically bloom in early February, just in time for the new year, with the striking pink blossoms marking the beginning of spring, the USPS said in a statement.

Unveiling the stamp of the zodiac animal is an annual event hosted by the San Francisco mayor for several years, to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the city.

"This is a great celebration of our API (Asian-Pacific Islander) heritage … during the Lunar New Year," said Mayor London Breed, who was surrounded by other elected and city officials at the ceremony on Thursday.

It's especially important to celebrate the heritage and tradition at a time when immigrant population and cultural diversity are "sometimes not welcomed in other cities across the United States", she said.

"But I want you to know that here in San Francisco, it's not only welcome, it's celebrated. It is celebrated in a way that really honors our rich history and our traditions," she told the gathering.

Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year for Chinese and other Asian communities. In California, millions of people celebrate the traditional festival.

Parades featuring enormous and vibrantly painted dragons and other festivities are enjoyed in San Francisco during the 15-day holiday from Lunar New Year's Day on Feb 5 to the Lantern Festival on Feb 19.

Introduced in 2008, Celebrating Lunar New Year by the USPS is the second series honoring the Lunar New Year. The first series ran from 1992 to 2007.

The pig is one of 12 animal zodiac signs associated with the Chinese lunar calendar. The 2019 Year of the Pig ends Jan 24, 2020. The stamp of the Year of the Pig is being issued as a souvenir sheet of 12 self-adhesive stamps.

"I'm proud to present such a beautiful and meaningful stamp, which represents a lot of significance," said the San Francisco postmaster. "The boar is believed to represent luck and good fortune, generosity, trust and sincerity."

"In San Francisco, we embrace our diversity," said Norman Yee, president of the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco. "It means a lot to our community."

The relationship between San Francisco residents and Chinese people has been very strong "because we have 20 to 25 percent of the population that have their ancestry from China," said Yee, a Chinese descendant.

Despite some tensions at the national level, they are not in San Francisco at the local level, he said, and "the relationship between China and Francisco will never change. This is where the root of many of the people that live here comes from."

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