According to the Chinese Zodiac Cycle, you are a Rat if you were born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, or 2020. The Year of the Rat begins January 25th, 2020 and ends on February 11th, 2021.
When you think of a Rat, cuddly is not a word that comes to mind. Words such as “dirty rat,” sneaky, snitch, whistleblower, or someone who’s tattled.
The Rat is the first of all the zodiac animals. According to one myth—and there are many—the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived at his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first. That’s the story of how the cunning rat won the race and became the first of the zodiac animals.
Rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of the Rat’s reproductive prowess, married couples prayed to the Rat for more children. Rats are described as clever, quick thinkers, successful, hard-working, thrifty and are content with living a quiet life.
The significance of 2020 is that it is the start of a new zodiac cycle. 2020 is also entering a new decade. In terms of Yang, Rats represent the beginning of a new day!
On January 11th, 2020, the United States Postal Service issued the first of 12 stamps in the third Lunar New Year series. It was a “forever” stamp celebrating the Year of the Rat.
Antonio Alcala, Art Director of the USPS, designed the stamp which featured a three-dimensional ceremonial mask designed by Camille Chew. Looking closely, various symbols associated with Lunar New Year are featured in the Rat’s mask.
According to the USPS, the mask reflects the elaborately decorated masks used in a dragon dance, which is a hallmark of Lunar New Year parades and celebrations.
Blue shown in various shades on the mask is said to be a lucky color for people born during the Year of the Rat. The yellow motif on top of the Rat’s head is similar to a crown highlighting the importance of the Rat as the first of the 12 zodiac animal symbols. A pop of red—below the ear of the Rat—is another lucky color. The patterns based on Asian textiles are visible on the mask. The Circle in the middle of the Rat’s head symbolizes the new moon that heralds the beginning of the Lunar New Year. “Lunar New Year” and “Forever USA” are in red and yellow below the mask.
Lunar New Year celebrates the beginning of spring and is celebrated by the cleaning of the streets and homes and hanging decorations. Chinese New Year 2020 will fall on Saturday, January 25th, 2020, and celebrations will continue for 16 days. In China, people will get 7 days off from work from January 24th – 30th, 2020.
Rats are most compatible with the Chinese Zodiac signs of Monkey, Ox and Dragon.