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Year of the Rat

Written by Ruby ZhaoUpdated Feb. 12, 2024

Years of the Rat in Chinese zodiac are 2032, 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936...The Rat is the first zodiac sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle. A Rat year occurs every 12 years.

The Chinese zodiac rat holds a significant place in Chinese culture. The rat is considered clever, resourceful, and adaptable. In Chinese folklore, the rat is known for its intelligence and ability to overcome challenges.  In Chinese tradition, it is believed that wearing accessories or clothing with rat imagery can bring luck and prosperity.

People born in the Year of the Rat are believed to possess qualities such as wit, charm, and ambition. They are seen as quick thinkers and often excel in problem-solving.

  • Chinese: 鼠年 (shǔ nián 'Rat year')
  • Earthly Branch: 子 (zǐ 1st of 12)
  • Representing hours: midnight hours (11pm–1am)
  • Yin/yang: yang

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Chinese Zodiac Rat Years

Recent years of the Rat include 2032, 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948 and 1936. If you were born in one of the these calendar years, your Chinese zodiac sign is probably the Rat, and in China you would be known as a Rat.

However, the Chinese zodiac year is usually said to start from Chinese New Year, which ranges from late January to mid-February. Therefore, if you were born in January or February in one of the above years, you might be a Rat, or possibly a Pig.

Additionally, if you were born in January/February in one of the years immediately following those above (2021, 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, etc.), then you may be a Rat or a Ox.

You can use our free Chinese zodiac sign calculator to be sure or see the table below.

Find Your Zodiac Sign

Choose your date of birth and find out about your Chinese zodiac sign.

Dates For Rat Years

Rat Year Date Element
2032 Feb. 11, 2032 – Jan. 30, 2033 Water
2020 Jan. 25, 2020 – Feb. 11, 2021 Metal (Gold)
2008 Feb. 7, 2008 – Jan. 25, 2009 Earth
1996 Feb. 19, 1996 – Feb. 6, 1997 Fire
1984 Feb. 2, 1984 – Feb. 19, 1985 Wood
1972 Feb. 15, 1972 – Feb. 2, 1973 Water
1960 Jan. 28, 1960 – Feb. 14, 1961 Metal (Gold)
1948 Feb. 10, 1948 – Jan. 28, 1949 Earth
1936 Jan. 24, 1936 – Feb. 10, 1937 Fire
1924 Feb. 5, 1924 – Jan. 23, 1925 Wood

Rats Horoscope Predictions and Lucky Color for 2024

Rats (those of you born in a year of the Rat), you can expect some challenges in 2024 according to Chinese astrology, and your career will be affected by inauspicious stars. But if you take your opportunities, your work and wealth will shake off any bad luck, and a little surprise will come to you! You need to be cautious and not impulsive in your actions during this year.

Lucky color for 2024: white, blue, pink

Read more on Horoscope for Rats in 2024: Career, Love, and Money Predictions.

Zodiac Rat's Personality

Rat's Personality

Rats are quick-witted, resourceful, and smart but lack courage. With rich imaginations and sharp observations, they can take advantage of various opportunities well.

In Chinese culture, rats represent working diligently and thriftiness, so people born in a Rat year are thought to be wealthy and prosperous.

Men born in a Rat year are very curious so they tend to try their hands at anything and they can deal with tasks skillfully.

Women born in a Rat year are pretty, smart, and lovely. They have quick minds and dexterous hands, and are able to learn anything. They are always considerate of their families and friends.

Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold, and Water Rats

In Chinese element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire, or Earth. For example, a Wood Rat comes once in a 60-year cycle.

It is theorized that a person's characteristics are decided by their birth year's zodiac animal sign and element. This means there are five types of Rat, each with different characteristics:

Rat Element Personality
Wood Rat Independent, self-confident, virtuous and talented, with a strong sense of teamwork
Fire Rat Energetic, brave, quiet, cordial and friendly to their friends, but very strict with themselves
Earth Rat Amiable, honest, flexible, modest, serious, with a strong sense of self-esteem
Gold Rat Smart, talented, hot-tempered, jealous, with a strong sense of self-awareness
Water Rat Talkative, shrewd, conservative, and wise

See Chinese Zodiac Rats of 5 Elements: Characters and Destinies.

Rats' Love Compatibility: Is She/He Compatible with You?

The Rat's Love Compatibility

Each animal sign has its unique characteristics. Love compatibility among Chinese zodiac animals mostly takes into account the general characteristics of each animal. Only those whose characteristics match each other well can be good partners.

See below the compatibility of the Rat with other animals.

Best with: Rat, Ox, Dragon, or Monkey

  • The Rat and Ox have complementary characters and will help each other in their work and home lives.
  • The Rat and Dragon will have a good relationship and support each other.
  • Couples including a Rat and a Monkey will get along well and be happy.

Worst with: Rabbit, Horse, or Rooster

  • A Rat clashes easily with a Rabbit, a Horse or a Rooster. They lack tolerance toward each other and it's hard to sustain a lasting peace.

Want to know if she/he is compatible with you? Use our zodiac love compatibility calculator below. Or you can check the 12 Chinese zodiac signs' love compatibility in detail.

Chinese Zodiac Compatibility Calculator

Enter date of birth and test now
Boy's date of birth:
Girl's date of birth:

Lucky Things for People Born in a Year of the Rat

lucky Things for the Rats

Things that will bring Rats luck:

  • Lucky numbers: 2, 3, and numbers containing them (like 23 and 32)
  • Lucky days: the 4th and 13th of every Chinese lunar month
  • Lucky colors: blue, gold, green
  • Lucky flowers: lily, African violet
  • Lucky direction: west, northwest and southwest
  • Lucky months: the 2nd, 5th and 9th Chinese lunar months

Things that Rats should avoid:

  • Unlucky color: yellow, brown
  • Unlucky numbers: 5 and 9
  • Unlucky direction: south and southeast
  • Unlucky months: the 4th, 10th, and 12th Chinese lunar months

Best-Suited Careers for Rats

With good insight and a sharp perspective, Rats have good judgment in what they do, which enables them to prevent unnecessary problems. Rats are cautious and meticulous, so they tend to show a serious attitude toward their work.

The best careers for Rats are: Administrator, director, manager, entrepreneur, broadcaster, writer, musician, stand-up comedian, politician, lawyer, researcher, and racing car driver.

Famous People of Zodiac Rat Year

How did the Rat Become the First Sign in Chinese Zodiac?

Once upon a time, there was a great race organized by the generous Jade Emperor in China. All the animals in the kingdom were excited to participate and show off their skills. The Jade Emperor had an important decision to make - he needed to determine the order of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac.

One little creature that was especially smart and quick was the Rat. The Rat knew it wasn't the fastest animal, so it needed to come up with a clever plan. It approached its friend, the strong and dependable Ox, and asked for some help.

The Rat said to the Ox, "Dear friend, I have an idea. You are so strong, and I'm good at navigating. If you let me ride on your back, I can help guide you through the race."

The kind-hearted Ox agreed, and they set off together. As they reached the river, all the other animals rushed in to swim across. But the Rat and the Ox had their secret plan. The Rat perched itself on the Ox's back and held on tightly.

The Ox powered through the water, carrying the Rat safely across. Just as they reached the other side, the Rat sprang off the Ox's back and quickly scurried to the finish line. The Rat's speed and cleverness helped it to cross the line before anyone else.

Everyone cheered for the Rat, and the Jade Emperor declared it the first winner of the race. From that day on, the Rat became the first animal in the Chinese zodiac. All the other animals followed, with their positions in the zodiac determined by the order they finished the race.

How to Build Relationships with Rats

With an active nature, Rats enjoy a flexible social circle. They are interested in attending different kinds of social occasions. They like to make new friends, but they seldom further their relationships with others. Rats have a charming appearance, which can attract more friends.

In love relationships, Rats find it easy to start a new relationship with someone, but they also break off relationships easily, which results in trouble with infidelity.

Check Other Chinese Zodiac Animals

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