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17 January 2020

Lunar New Year (Series 2, Issue 12): “Rat’s Wedding”

Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding, 17 January 2020. All images from Canada Post, unless otherwise noted.

Specifications
Issue Date: January 17, 2020
Stamp Designer: Albert Ng, O. Ont. and Seung Jai Paek
Stamp Value: PermanentTM (domestic rate)
Quantity Produced: 260,000
Dimensions: 32 mm x 32 mm

Celebrate the Year of the Rat with this booklet of 10 PermanentTM domestic rate stamps.

These festive stamps celebrate the Year of the Rat with images inspired by the Chinese folk tale of the wedding of the rat’s daughter. You’ll find the charming rat bride, dressed in extravagant headdress, being escorted to her wedding by merry rat servants.

The Year of the Rat begins on January 25, 2020, and ends on February 11, 2021. Although Rat is the first sign in the Chinese zodiac, this is Canada Post’s final issue in the most recent 12-stamp Lunar New Year series.

Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding (booklet of 10 domestic rate stamps), 17 January 2020.
Canada – Lunar New Year 2020 (Rat’s Wedding), sheet of 25, 17 January 2020. Image from Canadian Stamp News.

With embossing and gold foil, the pane of 25 stamps features traditional blessings in Chinese calligraphy:

瑞雪迎春 (top left): “A timely snow is an auspicious sign for a new year”

紅梅報喜 (bottom left): “Red plum blossoms bring good tidings”

鞭炮齊鳴 (top right): “The air is filled with the sound of bursting firecrackers”

好事連連 (bottom right): “This year will be filled with one good thing after another”

Canada; Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding (first day cover), 17 January 2020.
Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Weddng (international rate), 17 Janaury 2020.

Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding (international rate booklet), 17 January 2020.

Send warm wishes to welcome the Year of the Rat with this booklet of six international rate stamps featuring gold foil.

Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding (souvenir sheet), 17 January 2020.

Honour the arrival of the Year of the Rat with this scroll-shaped souvenir sheet featuring the international rate stamp.

This souvenir sheet illustrates the traditional Chinese folk story of the wedding of the rat’s daughter. The stamp depicts the happily married couple as they share their first moments together after the elaborate ceremony. The background offers a glimpse of the merry procession that preceded the nuptials.

Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding (souvenir sheet first day cover), 17 January 2020.

Celebrate the Year of the Rat with this souvenir sheet Official First Day Cover.

This international rate souvenir sheet Official First Day Cover comes unsealed to facilitate the Lunar New Year tradition of giving money in a red pouch.

Featuring gold foil, the festive stamp celebrates the Year of the Rat with images inspired by the Chinese folk tale of the wedding of the rat’s daughter. Set in a snowy scene reminiscent of Canada and northern China, the souvenir sheet depicts a merry wedding procession carrying the happy bride. The stamp depicts the couple sharing their first moments as a married couple. The stamps are cancelled in Toronto, Ontario.

The cover also includes another traditional Chinese blessing 鼠兆豐年 (“The rat foretells a fruitful year”).

Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding (transitional miniature sheet), 17 January 2020.

Bid farewell to the Year of the Pig and welcome the arrival of the Year of the Rat with this transitional souvenir sheet featuring the international rate stamp from each issue.

Both stamps feature embossing and gold foil and traditional blessings in Chinese calligraphy. At the top is the Year of the Rat stamp, depicting a newly wedded rat couple, with imagery of their wedding procession to the right. Below is the Year of the Pig stamp featuring Pigsy, a colourful character from the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West.

Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding (postal card – domestic rate design), 17 January 2020.

Celebrate the Year of the Rat with this postage-paid postcard featuring an enlargement of the domestic stamp from this issue. This postcard can be mailed from Canada to anywhere in the world.

The festive postcard celebrates the Year of the Rat with images inspired by the Chinese folk tale of the wedding of the rat’s daughter. You’ll find the charming rat bride, dressed in extravagant headdress, being escorted to her wedding by merry rat servants.

Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding (postal card – international-rate design), 17 January 2020.

Celebrate the Year of the Rat with this postage-paid postcard featuring an enlargement of the domestic stamp from this issue. This postcard can be mailed from Canada to anywhere in the world.

The festive postcard celebrates the coming Year of the Rat with images depicting the Chinese folk tale of the wedding of the rat’s daughter. Showing the happily married couple after the ceremony, this stamp is depicted in the style of folk art known as Chinese farmer painting.

Canada: Year of the Rat – Rat’s Wedding (uncut press sheet), 17 January 2020.

Celebrate the Year of the Rat with this colourful uncut press sheet, which includes 12 international rate stamps, gold foil, embossing and five traditional blessings in Chinese calligraphy:

瑞雪迎春 : “A timely snow is an auspicious sign for a new year”

紅梅報喜 : “Red plum blossoms bring good tidings”

鞭炮齊鳴 : “The air is filled with the sound of bursting firecrackers”

好事連連 : “This year will be filled with one good thing after another”

鼠兆豐年 : “The rat foretells a fruitful year”

The stamps on this uncut press sheet depict the happy outcome of the well-known Chinese folk tale of the wedding of the rat’s daughter.


Previewed on 7 September 2019 by Canada Post stamp design manager Susan Gilson at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show in Mississauga, Ontario. This year’s Lunar New Year stamp titled “Rat’s Wedding” is the twelfth and final annual design in a series that began in 2009. The first series marking Chinese New Year began in 1997.

The Chinese zodiac signs contain twelve animals, all with distinguished features and activity routines. The culture of Chinese zodiac signs has imbued the twelve animals with different symbolic and auspicious meanings, thus to Chinese people, these animals are far more than ordinary pets or wildlife. The Year of the Rat is written as Zi (子) in Chinese.

The following was published on the website 21 Chinese Culture last April:

Generally speaking, people do not find rats pleasant because they steal food, spread disease and destroy furniture. There are some traditional Chinese sayings about rat from which one finds people’s attitude towards rat quite negative: “rats living in public warehouses are as big as funnels” is used to mock corrupt officials: and “a rat in the street is chased by all” is used to describe an extremely unpopular person. However, peoples attitude towards rat does not affect the fact that it is leading the Chinese zodiac signs. This is because the rat symbolizes family prosperity, intelligence, good luck and wealth according to the culture of Chinese zodiac signs.

Rats are famous for their fertility: each female rat gives birth to a group of 5-10 babies at one time (the maximum number of babies in one rat birth is up to 24), making the total annual amount up to 5.000. It takes 30-40 days for a newly-born rat to become sexually mature and to give birth to babies if it is female. As this cycle continues, the rat family is now a big family with enormous members. This is why rat is the symbol of family prosperity. Except for its fertility, the rat is also characterized by other strengths, such as a keen sense of smell and nimble movements. They are good at foraging for food from food containers and their quick response to natural disasters including earthquake, flood and drought has helped mankind get prepared and control damage, which leaves an impression that rats are smart animals. People from some places of China worship rat as the God of Wealth given the fact that rats only visit wealthy families, and they also want to live a wealthy life with a plentiful supply of food like rats that tend to hoard food.

One widely spread folk story is the story of Rat’s Marriage, also called Rat’s Wedding. It was originally a worship ceremony hosted in many places in China yet on different days: the New Year’s Day in southern Jiangsu, the 9th of the second lunar month in Shaanxi, the 16th of the first lunar month in Henan, the 4th of the second lunar month in Hunan, and the New Year Eve in Sichuan . People have developed a series of activities to celebrate the rat’s wedding. On the night before the wedding day, people will make sesame candies as wedding candies and create some noise with pot covers and dustpans as warm-up activities to urge the bride to get dressed. On the wedding day, children are told to be quiet and lamps are put off at night to make sure the wedding is carried on smoothly. They will also put some food such as candies, cakes and flower-shaped rice pastries in case that the wedding guests are hungry.

Additionally, there are other folk customs related to rat. In the past, people in Bejing and Tianjin celebrated the Food Hoarding Festival between the 20th and 25th of the first lunar month. During this time period, people would hoard more food in their barns and eat some meat dumplings which indicated wealth. In Qinghai Province, some places share a folk custom called Cook Blind Rats: on every 14th of the first lunar month, people make and steam twelve flour rats without eyes. Later on the Lantern Festival Day, people place these flour rats on the altar, light some lanterns and incenses. which implies that rats will only eat grassroots and stay away from their crops so that they will have a good harvest. On the first Zi day of the first lunar month, the Korean ethnic group in northeast China will host an annual folk activity called Smoke Out Rat. Children spread some straws on field ridges and put them on fire to kill weeds and drive away field rats.

There are many folk customs related to rats, popular and widespread in China in various forms. Ballads. New Year paintings, embroideries and clay sculptures related to rat are still living cultural traditions in people’s daily life.

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