Title : New Year's Greetings  (View Souvenir Sheet)
Date of Issue
170 won 
A dragon wishing for the new millennium 
Ahn, Jung-un 
Stamp No.
Image Area
Sheet Composition
Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation 
The year 2000, which ushers in the new millennium is the Year of the Dragon, the fifth of the twelve zodiacal signs. In the East, including China, the dragon has traditionally been revered as one of the four imaginary auspicious animals, along with the kilin (which resembles a deer), the phoenix, and the tortoise. Legend has it that the dragon lived underwater, sometimes flying to the sky. It is a? presumed to be blessed with the sacred ability to gather and disperse the clouds and, by controlling the rain and the wind, the dragon rewards or punishes mankind with bountiful harvests or with deluge and drought. Thus the dragon came to be regarded as the symbol of imperial dignity and power. In contrast, the West has shown an ambivalent attitude toward the dragon at once viewing it with awe-inspired reverence as a creature with supernatural powers and as a symbol of might and affluence, while simultaneously seeing it as an embodiment of evil that must be slayed. Korea has embraced the Chinese picture of the dragon with little modification. In Korea, the dragon has been worshipped as a mystical beast with a divine wisdom for foretelling the future and also as the symbol representing imperial power and prestige. In shamanism, the dragon spirit was regarded as the god ruling the waters. In times of drought, a special ceremony is conducted imploring the dragon spirit for rain to nourish the crops and ensure a plentiful harvest. Moreover, shamar rites were performed to invoke the help of t? dragon king for a safe voyage in fishing operations and to ensure a bumper catch of fish on the coastal regions. All of these rituals have been handed down and demonstrate the lingering vestiges of the Dragon King Faith. As the epochal moment of the beginning of the new millennium is fast approaching, our hearts leap with high hopes and expectations of a new year full of luck and hope, just like a dragon soaring to the sky.