The Rat is the first sign in the 12-year zodiac cycle because, according to legend, he tricked the Ox into carrying him across the river during the Jade Emperor’s great race and jumped off his snout at the last minute, landing him the coveted first place.
Years of the Rat
Anyone who was born in the years 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, or 2020 belongs to the sign of the Rat. However, it’s important to note that the Chinese zodiac follows the Chinese lunar calendar, which officially begins in late-January or early-February. For example, Chinese New Year fell on February 19th in 1996 so, if you were born before that date, you belong to the Year of the Pig and not the Year of the Rat. Not that either option sounds particularly tempting!
Lucky Signs and Symbols
If you happen to be a Rat person, be sure to look out for the numbers 2, 3, 5, and 9. Two and three are your lucky numbers, while five and nine may potentially herald disaster! Your lucky colours are blue, gold, and green, while unlucky colours include yellow and brown.
Characteristics of the Rat
Those born in the Year of the Rat are said to be quick-witted, charismatic, resourceful, versatile, kind, and smart. However, much like their furry counterparts, Rat people are thought to be devious, cowardly, picky, opportunistic, and narrow-minded. They work well alone, but do not make particularly good leaders or co-operative team members.
When it comes to love, the Ox, Rabbit, and Dragon are the best matches for the Rat, while the Monkey, Dog, and Pig are also considered suitable. The Tiger or another Rat will form an average match, and the Snake is better off as just a friend. The Sheep may prove to be the perfect match, but is more likely to end up as a sworn enemy. Matches with the Horse and Rooster are to be avoided at all costs!
When it comes to job prospects, people born under the sign of the Rat are known for their insight, good judgement, and cautious nature. They take their careers very seriously and are meticulous when it comes to accomplishing tasks. For this reason, they are said to be suited to careers in business, law, performance, and politics. In particular, those born in the Year of the Rat are well-equipped for careers as administrators, directors, managers, entrepreneurs, broadcasters, writers, musicians, stand-up comedians, politicians, lawyers, researchers, and even racing car drivers!
How to Manage Your Relationship with the Rat
Those born under the sign of the Rat are active in all aspects of their life, including socially. They often have a broad, flexible social circle and are attracted to wide range of social occasions. Their innate charm and charisma means they are capable of attracting others with ease. Be forewarned: while Rats enjoy forging new friendships, these friendships oftentimes remain superficial and they seldom invest the time to further or deepen their relationships.
This similarly applies to romantic relationships, as they easily start relationships but often break them off just as quickly. They are unsurprisingly rumoured to be prone to infidelity, putting paid to the term “love rat”!
The Elemental Cycle
As we mentioned in our introduction to the Chinese zodiac, the 12-year animal cycle is part of a much wider 60-year elemental cycle, meaning that each year of the zodiac is also assigned an element. People born in 1924 or 1984 belong to the Year of the Wood Rat, lending them the extra qualities of being independent, self-confident, virtuous, and talented, with a strong sense of teamwork. The Fire Rats, who were born in 1936 or 1996, are known for being energetic, brave, quiet, cordial, and easy-going with their friends, but very strict with themselves.
Anyone born in 1948 or 2008 is an Earth Rat, meaning they are amiable, honest, flexible, modest, serious, and have a strong sense of self-esteem. Those born in 1960 or 2020 are Metal Rats, exhibiting intelligence, skill, hot-temperedness, a jealous nature, and a strong sense of self-awareness. Finally, the Water Rats of 1972 are talkative, shrewd, conservative, and wise.
So remember: next time you call someone a rat, you might just be paying them a compliment!