President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host President Hu of China at a State Dinner at the White House. January 19, 2011.

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Obama Sends Best Wishes for Lunar New Year « VOA Breaking News

U.S. President Barack Obama is sending wishes of peace, prosperity, and good health to all those celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Mr. Obama said Asian-Americans in big cities and small towns will mark the new year with festive celebrations, carrying on the rich traditions of their heritage.

He said the celebrations are a reminder that America’s strength comes from the richness of culture and diversity of its people.

China began the new year celebration Thursday, as well as other countries with large Chinese populations or where Chinese culture has played an influential role.

2011 is the year of the rabbit in the Chinese calendar. It is the year of the cat in other nations, including Vietnam.


Commemorative stamp for China’s Year of the Rabbit on sale in France

Canada Post greets Year of the Rabbit with new stamps

VANCOUVER, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) — Canada Post marked the upcoming Year of the Rabbit Friday by hosting a special ceremony to launch the latest issues of its Lunar New Year stamp series in Vancouver.

With the ceremony held at the offices of SUCCESS, a non-profit group dedicated to helping new immigrants get established in Canada, members of the Chinese community, as well as local philatelists were out in force to get their first look at the stamps, honoring the fourth animal represented in the cycle of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

This year, the national carrier is issuing 5.5 million domestic stamps featuring a hopping white metal rabbit depicted on a square red and gold background. On a full sheet of 25 stamps, the repeated image appears as if one rabbit is chasing another.

For the international market, the issue of 550,000 stamps is inspired by Chinese embroidery with two white rabbits chasing each other in an endless circle. Gold foil is used to mimic the yellow in the embroidered design and it also signifies that this is the Year of the Metal Rabbit, something which occurs every 60 years.

Also part of the issue are 20,000 first day covers and 20,000 full sheets of the stamps, the latter decorated with Chinese phrases and all 12 animals of the Chinese Lunar New Year cycle around the margins. Other items include post cards, shopping bags, an 18K hologram gold coin and a “lunar lotus” silver coin.

A festival that transcends boundaries

…Despite its evolution, the lunar new year – chunjie or Spring Festival in China – is an event that still tugs the heartstrings of Chinese everywhere and is a celebration of thanksgiving.

In homes across China, Australia, the US, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Britain, the Philippines, Thailand and India, the Year of the Rabbit will be met with parties, feasts and firecrackers. China Daily took a whistle-stop tour to find out more…..

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