Year Of The Rat – The First Animal in the Chinese Zodiac

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year of the rat chinese zodiac

There are twelve animals in the Chinese zodiacal system. The Rat is the first and the smallest animal that dominates the beginning of the zodiac cycle.

2020 is the Year of the Rat beginning January 25th ( Chinese New Year ) until February 11th 2021 which is the Lunar New Year’s Eve.

According to Chinese zodiacal system, the Rat is the animal that leads the 12-year cycle. The years of the Rat are, 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032….

How did an animal that is known to have spread the plague and many like to think of them out of sight end up becoming the top animal in Chinese astrology? Read on to find out!

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year of the rat chinese zodiac

The Rat

I am the self – proclaimed acquisitor.

I am a link yet I function as a complete unit.

I aim at encompassing heights

And strike my target

Sure and steady.

Life is one joyous journey for me.

Each search must end with a new quest.

I am progress, exploration and insight.

I am the womb of activity.


Chinese Rat (or mouse)

Chinese name for the Rat : SHU

Ranking order : First

Direction of the sign : Directly North

Hours ruled by the Rat : 11pm – 1am

Corresponds to the Western sign : Sagittarius

Season and principle month : Winter – December

Stem : Positive

Fixed Element : Water

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January 31, 1900 – February 18, 1901. (METAL )

February 18, 1912 – February 5, 1913. ( WATER )

February 5, 1924 – January 24, 1925 ( WOOD )

January 24, 1936 – February 10, 1937 ( FIRE )

February 10, 1948 – January 28, 1949 ( EARTH )

January 28, 1960 – February 14, 1961 ( METAL )

February 15, 1972 – February 2, 1973 ( WATER )

February 2, 1984 – February 19, 1985 ( WOOD )

February 19, 1996 – February 6, 1997 ( FIRE )

February 6, 2008 – January 25, 2009 ( EARTH )

January 25 2020 – February 11, 2021 ( METAL )

February 11, 2032 – January 30, 2033 ( WATER )

If you were born on the day before the start of the lunar year of the Rat, for example, January 30, 1900, you belong to the animal sign before the Rat – which is the Boar.

If you were born on the day after the lunar year of the Rat, for example, February 19, 1901, then you belong to the sign following that of the Rat – the Ox.twin flame


The Rat year is a year of overflow, bringing good prospects and opportunities. This year will see quite a considerable amount of risk in commodities such as the stock market and ever larger returns which will benefit the general world economy – a boom in general may occur. Businesses will be on the rise, a lot of good fortune can be made as this year will be a simple time to gain riches and wealth.

Nevertheless, even though prosperity will be vast and many will escape the rat race, it is an important time to think ahead and using money wisely and investing it in long – term plans just in preparation for any sudden losses in upcoming years. This year reminds us to remember that the cold of winter and long dark nights are the rulers of the Rat. As long as one is sensible with their fortunes, they will keep their head’s above water.

As a whole, this year will be one of less war and disaster in comparison to the years of the Dragon, or Tiger for example. Socially, people will be in good spirits and wanting to connect and spend time with others. In large gatherings petty bickering and unimportant arguments will still continue but will have no long-lasting damage as we will go back to having enjoyable times.


The personality of the Rat is one of charm and wisdom. It was Walt Disney who showed us in the much loved Mickey Mouse character could be upfront and honest yet he would do it in such a way where you may find yourself put out. Surprising to most, the Rat is very easy to get along with. They get their money from a lot of hard work so they appreciate its value and worth.

In general, they won’t usually spend money on others so if you have received an expensive present of gift from a Rat, you can be confident that they think very highly of you. Even though they prefer to keep their hands in their pockets, they are too charming to have a lack of admirers.

On the outside, a Rat may appear to be shy, this is not the case, they are far from it! Usually they are upbeat, happy and social able personalities who love any excuse for a party or social gathering, the larger crowd, the better. They love joining groups, clubs, anywhere they can get involved and mingle with close friends or large groups. Friendships, family members and acquaintances are what the Rat hold close to them, they are extremely outgoing.

Being such a people person, the Rat often gets involved in many of their lives and personal worries and woes and finds it hard to detach themselves emotionally. This easily agitates them but they have the self- control to maintain it, thus explaining why they attract so many friends like magnets.

Sometimes you will see a grumpy, moody Rat, that’s when he’s finding faults within himself and others and it soon passes. We could never be 100% certain on what he is truly feeling, especially where love is concerned. They will only truly love someone when that person is more important to them than money.

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METAL RAT – 1840, 1900, 1960, 2020

These types of Rats are dreamers, outspoken and moving in their speech and movements. They are incredibly emotional and will try to disguise this by putting on an optimistic and charming disposition. You would be surprised to know that they are easily jealous, irritated, egotistic and controlling.


They can have a simple view of everyday life, their moods are reliant on what they see and hear around them. Romantic gestures aren’t a usual thing of the metal Rat unlike Rats of the other elements, but they can be sensual yet keep their wits about them at the same time.


We know all the elements of the Rats love money, especially this metal one but they aren’t miser’s. They love to impress others and will spend their money on good value, high quality items and decorations for their homes.


This Rat will enjoy progressing into significant groups and circles with the right kind of people. They love drama, showing off and they have expensive, classy taste. If they can keep their dominating side at a healthy level, he will be known and loved by people that others look up to and respect.


WATER RAT – 1852, 1912, 1972, 2032

These type of Rats will more than likely be deep thinkers. They are more involved in the complexity of the mental state and will exercise his thoughts in how the brain does what it does! Their levels of understanding are immense and can easily relate to people from all walks of life.


By nature, they are compassionate and insightful people and will gain others’ respect due to the fact that they are so accommodating. They like to keep things on an even keel and sees no point in changing what works.


In saying this, they are cautious and sharp personalities and will treat everyone in a way that works for them as they can understand others likes and dislikes. Trouble can be found when their talking gets too much, they will speak to anyone who listens, they won’t care for whom.


This Rat loves to learn about themselves and everyone in their lives. Most often you will see them deep in thought. Whether they are reading or writing, they are constantly on the quest for as much knowledge as they can soak up like a sponge.


WOOD RAT – 1864, 1924, 1984


Enterprising and driven to succeed can be ways to describe this certain Rat. They are fantastic explorers and aren’t one to throw items out that many others wouldn’t keep – there is a use for anything they hold onto. They understand how society and the system operates and can make it work for them as they choose.


All the why’s and how’s of how everything works keeps them busy and always thinking about their futures. Although they are self – centered, by being ones not to rock the boat, others tend to admire and respect the wood Rat.


They are driven by security for their futures and will work extra hard to achieve a good foundation. Knowing exactly what they want and how to get it, self-confidence is very obvious in the way he talks. In their career, they will be very professional and strict with their time. Having great communication skills, the wood Rat will be an asset to any company as they can easily advertise their products or services.

twin flame

FIRE RAT – 1876, 1936, 1996


The fire Rat is a big and brave person who has great passion for justice campaigns and a better way of life rather than accepting the norm. Being naturally bold and assertive, they will love to seek all types of adventures and activities. Their energetic personalities adore travel and fashion. We would recommend this particular type of Rat to try Tai Chi to maintain their energy.


They may find it difficult to win others’ appreciation and can appear to have some difficulty when understanding people’s emotions and feelings. As they seldom think with their head, they will tend to follow their hearts and will lack self – discipline. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if they are around one day, and disappear into the countryside the next.


This type of rat could be more generous and they are devoted to their families and homes. Sometimes, it can make them feel trapped and they need to escape to re-charge their batteries. An independent and extremely ambitious, their impatience could slow their fortunes down.


EARTH RAT – 1888, 1948, 2008


This type of Rat is an early bloomer and is a practical, down to earth person who strives to find the positives in any negatives in their lives. Self – discipline, structure and security keeps them content and happy. Balance and realism is important to the earth Rat and the high life doesn’t interest them.


Having good rapport with others is important to this earthy Rat and would rather work somewhere they will have good long-standing friendships. In work, they are incredibly focused in all tasks and will complete them will great attention to detail.


Being people that are careful about their public stature and character, they tend to seek high quality in materialistic belongings and will compare themselves to their peers. This could lead to being too careful with money that they get unreasonable selfish with their fortune.


Wasting money on taking risks with gambling is a definite no no. They prefer to climb the money ladder through slow and steady work, they will appreciate their good fortunes when they begin to grow. As his methods and procedures have had positive outcomes, they expect others to follow the same policies.

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We hope you enjoyed reading about the Year of the Rat and the different types of elemental Rats. Chinese astrology is a fascinating and broad area.

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Until next time, take care







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  1. Interesting reading, and now I understand that telling fortunes for the Chinese is a difficult process.  A lot to be reviewed and taken into consideration.

    I can honestly say this is the most I have ever read about a rat.  Surprising how different cultures view different animals.  To have the rat as the smallest and the start to a new year reveals a different feeling towards this little animal.  Thank you for the education, and the information.

    • Yes, it is so true that this little animal thought ahead,,,it just verifies the intelliegence of animals!

      Thank you for reading. It may be the most you will read about a rat!

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