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Year of the Rat – the First Chinese Zodiac Animal

Get to Know the Year of the Rat

  • Chinese: 鼠 shǔ /syu/‘rat'
  • Personality: alert, resourceful, smart
  • Rat years: …1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

If you were born in one of the years listed above, then you are a Rat.

The Year of the Rat is first in the 12-year cycle of animal years of the Chinese zodiac. Each Chinese calendar year is associated with one of these animal signs, but the animal years do not start on January 1st! The Chinese lunar calendar is different from the Gregorian calendar.

2020 is a Rat year, beginning on January 25th, 2020 and lasting until February 11th, 2021. Let’s examine forecasts for Rats in 2020, find out what type of Rat you are, learn some greetings for a Rat year, and get to know the most famous Rats — William Shakespeare and LeBron James.

Rats' Lucky Things

Rats’ Unlucky Things

  • Unlucky umbers: 5, 9
  • Unlucky colors: yellow, coffee
  • Unlucky partners: Horse, Rabbit

Personality — Alert, Resourceful, Smart

Positive Attributes:

The most outstanding characteristics of people born in Rat years are that they are alert, resourceful, and smart. Owing to their positive contributions and strong flexibility at work, Rats are popular with their leaders. They can also be careful, well organized, and full of ”wicked ideas”.

Negative Attributes:

Lacking courage and leadership, Rats cannot be leaders of commercial organizations or other groups. They are sometimes stubborn, selfish, and opportunistic, even though they are otherwise good-natured.

The Most Famous Rats

William Shakespeare, born in 1564, was the greatest writer of the European Renaissance and one of the most outstanding dramatists ever. His works include the four tragedies Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, regarded as among the finest works in the English language.

LeBron James, born in 1984, is a professional basketball player in the US, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA.

James has won many awards, with his sharp breakthroughs and excellent passing skills; including four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals, and two Olympic gold medals. He is regarded by many as the best basketball player in the world.

Forecasts for the Rat in 2020

Overall Luck

Career: ★★★☆☆

Rats will have good opportunities in their careers this year. They will readily receive help from others and yield twice the results for half the effort, but at the same time they will be vulnerable to villains. So it will be necessary to guard against the ups and downs of working life.

Finance: ★★★☆☆

This will be a year of hard work for Rats. Even if their income rises due to development of their careers, their expenditure will increase accordingly. Be careful not to be trapped by deceptive competition or to lose money because of friends. Especially avoid money-lending or being a guarantor.

Health: ★☆☆☆☆

This will not be a good year for Rats’ health. They will be prone to disease of the kidneys or the urinary system. Eating and emotional issues should be given due attention.

Love: ★★☆☆☆

Generally speaking, this year there’ will be nothing striking about the love life and relationships of Rats. The chances of single Rats to find their love will be embarrassingly low and the feelings of people they admire will tend to be cool. Married Rats may also have some troubles or end up in a cold war situation.

Love Compatibility with Other Chinese Zodiac Signs

  • Best with: Dragon, Monkey, Ox
  • Worst with: Horse, Rabbit

Types of Rat— Five Elements and Years

Years sharing the same animal sign and element repeat every 60 years. The five elements are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood, . It is said that birth animal signs and elements decide people's characteristics.

Type of Rat

Year of Birth


Fire Rat

1936, 1996

Smart, sociable and highly independent

Earth Rat

1948, 2008

Steady, realistic and self-opinionated

Metal Rat

1960, 2020

Clever, filial and irritable

Water Rat

1912, 1972

Intelligent, cunning and conservative

Wood Rat

1924, 1984

Independent, traditional and hard-working

Greetings for a Rat Year

  • Good luck for this Rat year. 鼠年大吉 shǔ nián dà jí

Click here to see more New Year Greetings.

Some Famous People Born in a Year of the Rat

Born in 369 BC

Zhuangzi (an influential Chinese Daoist philosopher in the Warring States Period)

Born in 712

Du Fu (a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty)

Born in 1564

William Shakespeare

Born in 1732

George Washington

Born in 1874

Winston Churchill

Born in 1948

HRH Prince Charles

Born in 1984

LeBron James

Some other Rat celebrities

John F. Kennedy, Wolfgang Mozart, Charlotte Bronte, Truman Capote, Mata Hari, Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson

Which Chinese Zodiac Sign Are You?

  • Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
  • Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
  • Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
  • Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
  • Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
  • Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
  • Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
  • Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
  • Rat: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
  • Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
  • Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
  • Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971

The years above are Chinese calendar years, starting at Chinese New Year, which falls between January 21st and February 20th. So people born in January or February should find out when the New Year began to confirm their Chinese zodiac sign.

Introduction to the 12 Animals

We list all the 12 zodiac animals with detailed information, if you want to check out the animal sign that your parents or your kids belong to:

Help a Rat Create a Tour

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