Chinese New Year 2020 – Year of the Rat

Chinese New Year 2020 – Year of the Rat Saturday 25th January.

Chinese New Year (or generally referred to as The Lunar New Year) is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar and is the most important holiday in China.

People will eat lots of food, enjoy fireworks, wear special clothes and hang red lanterns to mark the occasion.

Chinese Red Paper Lanterns

Home and family are the principal focus. Schools and businesses can close for the first few days of the new year so that everyone can spend time with their families.

In preparation for the holiday, houses were thoroughly cleaned to rid them of “huiqi,” or inauspicious breaths, which might have collected during the previous year. Cleaning was also meant to appease the gods who would be coming down from heaven to make inspections. When New Year’s Day comes, there is a tradition NOT to pick up a broom, in case you sweep the good luck for the New Year out of the door!

Ritual sacrifices of food and paper icons were offered to gods and ancestors. People posted scrolls printed with lucky messages on household gates and set off fireworks because it is thought that noise and lights will frighten away any evil spirits for the coming months.

In fact, many of the rites carried out during this period are meant to bring good luck to the household and long life to the family—particularly to the parents.

On New Year’s Eve, extended family will join around the table for a meal that included as the last course a fish that was symbolic of abundance and is intended to welcome prosperity for the entire year.

Serving Fish is Symbolic

In the first five days of the New Year, people eat long noodles to symbolise long life. On the 15th and final day of the New Year, round dumplings shaped like the full moon are shared as a sign of the family unit and of perfection.

The New Year typically begins with the new moon that occurs between the end of January and the end of February, and it lasts about 15 days, finishing with a special lantern festival, which signals the end of the New Year celebration period.

The Chinese calendar also included the Chinese zodiac, the cycle of twelve stations or “signs” along the apparent path of the sun through the cosmos. 

Each new year was marked by the characteristics of one of the 12 zodiac animals: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

For the year 2020, the main zodiac element is metal, and the animal sign is Rat, and hence, 2020 will be the Year of the Metal Rat. The Chinese year will last from January 25, 2020, to February 11, 2021.

The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, 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.

The Rat is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) Zi (子) and the midnight hours. In terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Rat is yang and represents the beginning of a new day.

In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children.

Rats are thought to be clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life.

They are generally, optimistic, energetic, and are likeable by all. 

If you know anyone born under the Rat sign you may find they have a sensitive nature to other’s emotions but are stubborn with their opinion. Their personality is kind, but due to weak communication skills, their words may seem impolite and rude.

On the financial side, Rats like saving money and can be pretty frugal with it. However, their love for hoarding will sometimes cause them to waste money on unnecessary purchases.

Men born in the Rat year can be clever and adapt quickly to new environments. They are creative, have lots of good ideas and great at taking advantage of opportunities, although at times they may not have the courage to see something through.

Women born in the Rat year are generally the traditional type. They will love to be the organised at home and the workplace and have a sense of responsibility and ability.

You may also find they place great value on the family. 


Most compatible with Rat: Ox, Dragon, Monkey

Rat’s fixed Earthly Branch is water, while Ox is earth. They complement and help one another in both work and life.

Couples that are formed from Rat and Dragon will be able to understand each other well and enjoy success together.

Similar to Dragons, Monkeys get along great with Rats and tend to live happily ever after like a fairytale.

Least compatible with Rat: Horse, Goat and Rabbit

The Earthly Branches of Rat and Horse clash strongly. No matter what a Rat does, it won’t be enough for the Horse.

Goats are attracted to Rat’s wealth and hope to control it, making it a rocky relationship.

The Rabbit will either purposely or unintentionally go against the Rat’s wishes, while the Rat can only keep silent.

Lucky things for Rats

Colours: blue, gold, green

Numbers: 2, 3

Flowers: lily, African violet, valley lily

Directions of auspiciousness: southeast, northeast

Directions of wealth: southeast, east

Directions of love: west

Unlucky things

Colours: yellow, brown

Numbers: 5, 9

Rats in the Year of the Rat (2020)

Although a zodiac’s year is traditionally the most unfortunate, laden with bad omens and mishaps, 2020 will perform reasonably well for the Rat. Success will come in the form of career; celebrate the fact that your efforts will be rewarded and seen. On the other hand, your health and relationships will prove to be a struggle. Rats can eat anything, whether they are delicacies or plain food, but remember to eat breakfast, do moderate exercise and remain cheerful. Visit your doctor at the first sign of illness, and work toward creating a loving, open environment for all of your relationships. The year will have its issues, but the positive factors can turn it around.

Lilly Light

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