Chinese New Year 2020: Year of the Rat

January 23, 2020

Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays and is celebrated as the Spring Festival. This year, Chinese New Year is on Saturday 25 January and celebrates the Year of the Rat.

Chinese people believe that a good start to the year will lead to a lucky year. The main celebrations include eating ‘reunion’ dinner with the family, giving red envelopes of money, firecrackers and new clothes. Houses and streets are decorated with lucky red items. Red is a colour of energy, happiness and good luck.

In China, the red envelopes are known as hongbao (red packets) and they contain money and are given mostly to children and elders. The money must be crisp, new notes. More recently, younger people send ‘red envelopes’ via online money transfer through WeChat (China’s messaging app).

Click here for a list of things to be avoided on the first day of the Chinese New Year.

Alternative Description

Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. It is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterparts, but with one major difference – each house has a time length of one year instead of one month.

2020 is the year of the rat. The rat is the first of the zodiac animals in the cycle, and even though the rat may not be everyone’s favourite animal, it has the characteristics of spirit, wit, alertness, delicacy, flexibility and vitality.

Recent years of the rat are 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 and 2008.

Lucky things for rats:

Unlucky things for rats:

What type of rat are you?

Types              Years of Birth     Personality Traits

Wood rat         1924, 1984        Independent, self-confident, talented

Fire rat             1936, 1996       Clever, brave, but quiet

Earth rat          1948, 2008       Honest and contented mind, flexible

Metal rat          1960, 2020       Smart, talented and hot tempered

Water rat         1912, 1972       Talkative, shrewd and wise

Personality and characteristics
Rats are instinctive, acute and alert in nature which makes them brilliant businessmen. They can always react before the worst happens. They are also sophisticated and popular in social interactions.

Men born in the year of the rat are clever and adapt quickly to new environments. They are creative and clever at taking advantage of an opportunity. However, they sometimes lack the courage to do so. Although they have great ideas, they might not be suitable for leadership positions.

Women born in the year of the rat are traditional. They love keeping things organised and place great value on the family. Outside of home, they’re also someone with a sense of responsibility and ability.

Most compatible with a rat: ox, dragon, monkey.
The 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 the 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.

Least compatible with a rat: horse, rooster.
The earthly branches of a rat and horse clash strongly. They lack tolerance towards each other and it’s hard to maintain a lasting harmony.

Careers fit for a rat: Rats suit creative jobs due to their imagination. These include authors, editors and artists. However, if they join a team, their creative outlet may be blocked. Rats also pay attention to fine detail. They are well suited to technical work, such as engineering and architecture. They are alert, but have a lack of courage. This makes them unsuitable as police officers, entrepreneurs or other leadership and political positions. Although rats make good financial decisions, they should be careful not to invest with a close friend. It will not only cause money problems, but also affect the friendship.

Rats in the Year of the Rat 2020

Success will come in the form of career; celebrate that your efforts will be seen and rewarded. On the other hand, your health and relationships will prove to be a struggle. 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 positive factors can turn it around.

Famous year of the rat people:

From all at Babel, we wish all rats a happy, healthy and prosperous Chinese New Year!

To find out how you can work more effectively with your Chinese colleagues, clients or suppliers please get in touch for sample course outlines for Chinese Mandarin or Cantonese language programmes or Chinese cross-cultural workshops.   All our courses are tailored to suit your needs and delivered at a location of your choice or online.


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