Year of the Rat

The Chinese zodiac is comprised of twelve signs. These signs are all represented by animals, with the only exception being the dragon, which is considered ethereal and divine, all Chinese zodiac signs are worldly creatures. The Rat, as does the other signs, repeats every twelve years. The most recent Rat year was 2008, meaning the next one will not be until 2020. Western culture sees the rat as a dirty, disease spreading rodent. However, according to the Chinese zodiac, there is no shame in being born during the year of the Rat.

The Traits of Rats According to Chinese Tradition

Rats are thought to have many characteristics of both a flattering and negative nature. Favorably, they are said to be respected, courageous, and entrepreneurial. Traditionally, it has been considered an honor to have been born a Rat. The Rat is also believed to be a good nurturing friend who has the ability to take control of situations and make the best of them. Chinese astrologers consider the Rat the most adaptable in their ability to survive almost any situation. Negatively, Rats are thought to be selfish, devious, and sometimes imposing. To help determine which of these traits belong to which individual Rats, the Rat’s twelve year cycle is combined with the five Chinese elements that make up a five year cycle.

The Effect of the Five Elements on the Year of the Rat

The five Chinese elements are water, metal, fire, earth, and wood. These elements represent the five year cycle that divvies out Rat characteristics among the sign’s years. The Water Rat (born 1912 and 1972) is thought to possess a strong ability for influencing people. More, Water Rats supposedly have tremendous insight, and problem solving skills. Metal Rats (born 1900 and 1960) are said to be the most resolute and firm. These individuals are thought to be extremely emotional, so much so, that their emotions can lead to envy and fits of rage. The Fire Rat (born 1936 and 1996) is a person who is thought to enjoy new projects, large amounts of travel, and is thought be quite open minded. Rats that were born on the years 1948 and 2008 are considered Earth Rats. These Rats are believed to be conventionally good achievers who enjoy establishing roots and settling down at an early age. Wood Rats (born 1924 and 1984) are thought to possess little self confidence while hiding that weakness under a finely tuned façade. Though they are often successful, they are always thought to be living in fear of some great collapse in life. There have been many remarkable people born on the year of the Rat from all over the world.

Notable Rats from Chinese and Western Cultures

Those familiar with Chinese Imperial history are likely knowledgeable of Wei Zheng (born 580, Tang emperor) and Li Qingzhao (born 1083, poet). Famous Western Rats include George Washington (born 22 February 1732, first US president) and Winston Churchill (born 30 November 1874, English leader).

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