Saturday, November 08, 2008

New Year's Greetings - December 1, 2008

The year 2009 is the Year of the Ox.

In Korea, the ox has long been regarded as much more than simple livestock and being considered a family member. Being strong, simple, honest, and sincere, the ox has been very important laborer indispensable for the farming. Such natural dispositions of the ox have well matched our people’s temperament. So, our ancestors have valued and loved the characteristics of the ox.

In Seonnongje (rite of worship where people prayed for a good autumn harvest) held during the Joseon Dynasty, the ox was used as a sacrificial offering. After the worship was concluded, people stewed the ox and had a feast. This became the origin of the “Seolleongtang” (a type of beef soup with rice). There also was “Sonorigut” (Dances and Plays as a Masquerade of an Ox) where people fashioned straw and straw mats into the shape of an ox and took it around the village, praying for a good autumn harvest. Noblemen rode on the ox as a display of defiance against the powers or matters of the mundane world. This customs has been passed down to present time in the form of poetry and pictures.

It is hoped that in 2009, all will enjoy a sincere, diligent and prosperous life, just as the ox does. The stamp is printed with photostorage ink and the white-colored portions (the ox’s head, body, tail and snow flakes) glow in the dark.