Year of the Rat

Year of the Rat

By Fercility JiangUpdated Oct. 15, 2021

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

According to the Chinese zodiac story, in the competition held by the Jade Emperor to decide the zodiac animals, the quick-witted rat asked the diligent ox to take him on a ride to cross the river and jumped down before the ox crossed the finish line. Thus the rat won the race and became the first of the zodiac animals, followed by ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

  • 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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Was I Born in a Year of the Rat?

Recent years of the Rat include 2032, 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948 and 1936. A new Chinese zodiac year starts in January or February according to the lunar calendar. Therefore, if you were born in January or February in one of the above years, you might be a Rat, or possibly a Pig.

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

In Chinese element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold (Metal), and Water. Each Rat-element year corresponds with an element and comes once in a 60-year cycle. For example, 2020 was a year of the Metal Rat. The next Metal Rat year is 2080. 

Chinese Zodiac Sign Calculator

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

Year of the Rat Dates

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

The Rat’s Personality and Characteristics

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.

Due to a lack of courage, as well as good command skills, they are not capable of being leaders. Opportunistic and picky as male Rats are, they do not have broad minds but take a narrow view of things.

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.

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

Element Characteristics
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


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Rat's Love Compatibility

Rat's Love Compatibility

Chinese astrology states that certain zodiac animal combinations get along better than others, and that some animal signs are natural enemies.

Chinese horoscope animals’ compatibility takes the characteristics of each animal into account. Those whose characteristics match well can have good compatibility.

Rat's Love Compatibility

Most compatible zodiac signs with a Rat: Rabbit, Ox, Dragon

  • 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 Rabbit will get along well and be happy.

Least compatible zodiac signs with a Rat: Horse, Rooster

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

Take our online love Compatibility test.

Lucky Things for People Born in a Year of the Rat

Lucky Things for People Born in a Year of the Rat

Lucky things for Rats:

  • 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

Unlucky things for Rats:

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

Rats' Horoscope in 2021

Chinese horoscope Rat 2021

2021 is a year of the Ox, and the overall fortunes of Rat people (those born in a year of the Rat) are very good. Since the zodiac Rat and the zodiac Ox have a good relationship, the fortunes of Rat people will be exceptionally smooth. This year, regardless of whether they have difficulties in their careers or studies, Rats can get help from others in time.

However, the vigorous career luck also indicates that Rats’ workload will increase. In 2021, people belonging to the Rat sign must be cautious about their health due to high-intensity work and academic pressure.

Although there is no particular romantic luck to help them out this year, with other areas of luck generally good, Rat people’s emotional lives will be relatively stable. As long as they are their normal selves, Rats can reap happiness.

Read more on our Monthly Horoscope for Rats in 2021.

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

Good Health for Rats

General speaking, Rats are healthy. They are full of energy and active, which helps them keep fit and avoid illness.

A balanced diet and regular exercise benefit Rats. With enough rest Rats can keep high spirits at work, which can improve work efficiency. When in stressful and tense conditions, Rats are suggested to take a tour to free stress and tension.

Are Rat Years Unlucky Years for Rats?

Are Rat Years Unlucky Years for Rats?

According to Chinese astrology, the year of their birth sign (本命年běnmìngnián /bnn-ming-nyen/ 'origin (of) life year') will bring people nothing but bad luck. It is believed that people will offend Tai Sui, the God of Age, in their benmingnian.

Therefore, Rats should pay special attention to avoid misfortune in their lives in the year of their birth sign. The next Rat year is 2032. It starts from the Chinese New Year (February 11). Read more about How to Be Lucky in Your Ben Ming Nian.

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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