Title : NEW YEAR'S GREETINGS  (View Souvenir Sheet)
Stamp Serial#
Date of Issue
150 won 
A Hymn Song for the New Year 
Kim Sou-ik 
Image Area
Sheet Composition
White unwatermarked
Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation 
The Year of the Rat is fast coming to a close, and the Year of the Ox is just around the corner.

Known according to zoological nomenclature as Bos taurus L, the ox is the second of Shibijishin (twelve horary symbol), and has been more important for the growth of human civilization than any of the other animals in history. The ancient civilizations including China, India, Egypt, and Mesopotamia all understood how to use the ox to the best adventage, and thanks to enlightenment, they were able to settle down and engage in agriculture. Thus, the first civilizations were born. It is believed that the ox was introduced into the Korean peninsula around 1,800 to 2,000 B.C.

In Korean, the ox, or "so" in the Korean language, has also been named "saeng-gu", which means a servant who lives under the same roof as the master. This shows how close Koreans have always felt with the ox. Koreans have always held the ox in the highest regard, for without it they could not have farmed the land, which has always been the most important part of their lives. On the first day of the first month of the lunar calendar, Koreans let their oxen rest all day long and fed them fodder specially made with beans. In addition, when Koreans buy an ox or build a cowshed, they are very careful to do so only on an auspicious day according to the principles of Yin/Yang and the Five Elements Theory. The special day when the newly purchased ox comes into the house is named as "nabuil" (the day of getting an ox).

According to Korean folklore, "nagyong" (tiling while naked), and "sossaum" (cow fight) both concern cow. "Nagyong" refers to the folk custom where, on the 15th of the first month of the lunar calender, a male virgin would till the field stark naked with a cow named "mogu" (wood cow) or "t'ou" (soil cow), and pray for a good harvest. This custom was once practiced in the Kwandong infertile. And in the other custom called "sossau", which entailed a fight between two cows, which was usually held on Ch'usok, the Korean thanksgiving day. Such fights, which were once a common sight on Ch'usok in Kyongsang Province, were also held in some parts of Kangwon, Hwanghae, and Kyonggi Provinces.

With hopes that all the people will be able to send their love and gratitude to friends and family with a New Year's card not only to the ones who have been good and nice but to the ones with whom they have been estranged during the year, the Ministry of Information and Communication is issuing two New Year's postage stamps which both feature the cow under the themes of "A Hymn Song for the New Year" and "A Dream for the New Year".