On January 15th the Isle of Man Post office will issue a set of 4 stamps to celebrate the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac Calendar.
The years of the Chinese calendar follow a 12-year cycle and each year is associated with one of 12 animal symbols (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig). Every New Year marks the end of the reign of one animal and the beginning of the next. Those born under the sign of an animal are thought to possess the qualities associated with it.
With a history of more than 4000 years the Chinese New Year 2020 will start on Saturday 25th January and ends on 8th February with the celebration of the lantern festival. The year of the rat will end on 11th February 2021 to be followed by the year of the ox.
The Metal Rat Year indicates a strong, prosperous and lucky year for all Chinese zodiac signs. Everyone will show determination regarding their goals, aspirations and even their hobbies. This is a great year for founding and evolving.
While the rat has many positive attributes in Chinese culture it is an object of superstition on the Isle of Man where to use the very word ‘rat’ is felt to bring bad luck and the name ‘long-tail’ is preferred! The very utterance of the word here on Island by a superstitious person means they must immediately whistle, touch wood or cross their fingers to lift the curse of ill fortune.
Manx born artist Megan Hindley AKA Stedhead created four lively and playful images that truly capture the physical agility and intelligence of these creatures. She said: "A year of the r-a-t for me in many ways: from tattoos to a cider label for the Islands Foraging Vintners (the big circular fella featured in the presentation pack) ...and now stamps - it is a genuine honour to be asked to produce the images for this stamp collection. It’s a delight to know that my artwork will travel the world from my home Island."
Maxine Cannon, General Manager, Isle of Man Stamps and Coins said: "We are very proud to be celebrating the Spring Festival with these energetic and beautiful images created by Stedhead. Honouring the Chinese New Year with a stamp collection has become a tradition for us and being able to do so with imagery created by a Manx born artist is the icing on the cake."
In addition to the four-piece set a First Day Cover and a Presentation Pack are now available for pre-order at www.iompost.com/rat.
Images: Meg Hindley AKA Stedhead
Text: The Naughton Group, Hong Kong
Design: Isle of Man Advertising
Stamp Size: 60 x 30mm
Process: Offset Lithography
Perforations: 13.3 per 2cms
Paper: 110 gms PVA Gummed
No. of Stamps: 4
Format: Sheets of 20
Issue Date: 15th January 2020