Year of the Rat, or year of the Bat and Bad? The recent Corona Virus ourbreaking in Wuhan China seems to be a sign of the beginnings of an inauspicious year, according to Chinese beliefs, for those living in China and especially for those living in Wuhan where the virus originated. Some recent reports have indicated that the virus may have come from close contact with bats - who have unwillingly taken over the headlines during this new Year of the Rat... We hope that all people who are Rats in the Chinese zodiac aren't too discouraged - This is your year! - To all Rats around the world, we wish you a healthy and lucky year in 2020!

chinese zodiac: year of the rat

2020 is a year of the Rat, starting from January 25th, 2020 and lasting until February 11th, 2021. It will be a Metal Rat year. In 2021, a year of the Ox will follow.

The Year of the Rat is the first zodiac sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle. 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, so the rat won the race and became the first of the zodiac animals.

The 12 zodiac animals are, in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. A Rat year occurs every 12 years.

Rat Years

Recent Rat years are 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, and 2020.

The Chinese zodiac is associated with traditional Chinese chronology — a 60-year calendrical cycle, which is the combination of the 12 Earthly Branches (12 terms corresponding to 12 animals, months, and hours) and the 10 Heavenly Stems.

According to this, the Rat represents the Earthly Branch Zi and the midnight hours (11pm–1am). Moreover, in terms of the Chinese Yin and Yang theory, a Rat is Yang.

Therefore, if you were born in January or February in one of the above years, you might be a Rat, or possibly a Pig.

Rat Year Time Earthly Branch Five Elements Yin/Yang
2020 Jan. 25, 2020 – Feb.11, 2021 Zi (子) Metal (Gold) Yang
2008 Feb. 7, 2008 – Jan. 25, 2009 Zi Earth Yang
1996 Feb. 19, 1996 – Feb. 6, 1997 Zi Fire Yang
1984 Feb. 2, 1984 – Feb. 19, 1985 Zi Wood Yang
1972 Feb. 15, 1972 – Feb. 2, 1973 Zi Water Yang
1960 Jan. 28, 1960 – Feb. 14, 1961 Zi Metal (Gold) Yang
1948 Feb. 10, 1948 – Jan. 28, 1949 Zi Earth Yang
1936 Jan. 24, 1936 – Feb. 10, 1937 Zi Fire Yang
1924 Feb. 5, 1924 – Jan. 23, 1925 Zi Wood Yang

The Rat’s Characteristics and Personality

zodiac 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.

Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold, and Water Rats

In Chinese element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold (Metal), and Water. 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. So there are five types of Rat, each with different characteristics:

Famous People of Zodiac Rat Year
Type of Rat Characteristics
Wood Rat (1924, 1984) Independent, self-confident, virtuous and talented, with a strong sense of teamwork
Fire Rat (1936, 1996) Energetic, brave, quiet, cordial and friendly to their friends, but very strict with themselves
Earth Rat (1948, 2008) Amiable, honest, flexible, modest, serious, with a strong sense of self-esteem
Gold Rat (1960, 2020) Smart, talented, hot-tempered, jealous, with a strong sense of self-awareness
Water Rat (1912, 1972) Talkative, shrewd, conservative, and wise
Chinese Zodiac Rat Love Prospect

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.

Rat's Love Compatibility

Love Compatibility with the Rat

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.

Zodiac Rat's Love Compatibility

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

How to Build Relationships with Rats

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.

Lucky Things for People Born in a Year of the Rat

The Information for the Chinese Zodiac 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
Lucky/Unlucky Things for Zodiac Animal Rat

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

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.

good health for rats

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.

Rats’ Horoscope in 2020

In 2020, Rats are destined to experience a lot of challenges and ill fortune due to being in opposition to the Tai Sui star (or God of Age).

Rats (those born in a Rat year) will now and then feel exhausted. However, the tough things will go their way if they control their mind properly and make efforts to align themselves with Tai Sui fengshui. Life will be easiest in the middle of the year.

Rat's Horoscope in 2020

Career Prospects

As far as their careers are concerned, 2020 promises twists and turns in different situations for people born in a year of the Rat. Rats will encounter some trials in the first half of the year but will also reap benefits in their careers due to their incredibly flexible characters.

They are good at weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of a situation. When they make every effort to improve their work, they’ll receive recognition from their bosses resulting in promotions and increased salaries.


Zodiac Sign Rat's Astrology

The financial horoscope for Rats is not always smooth in 2020. Hardwork will increase their income and they should avoid speculative or high-risk investments, such as gambling or stocks and shares. They should be wise and invest their increased income cautiously.

Generally speaking, people born in a year of the Rat have positive financial aspects to look forward to in 2020. Rats should keep believing in themselves and work out any problems patiently.


People born in Rat years generally have a good horoscope for education in 2020. Their education expenses will increase and they will be confronted with more academic challenges.

Rats are intelligent and have rich imaginations. People born in Rat years tend to retain what they have learned in their studies easily. God helps those who help themselves and Rats should not slack off too much. If they want to achieve more, they should be more goal-oriented and make plans in advance. They will also get more support and help from their families in 2020.


Animal Sign Rat's Horoscope

People born in Rat years are physically healthy but can suffer from emotional issues. They will keep fit and manage to avoid illnesses in 2020. In autumn and winter, they should pay attention to their skin and respiratory protection.

Rats are likely to encounter some difficulties, which will decrease their enthusiasm. Psychological stress can lead to a lack of concentration in their work or study. A good amount of sleep every night is important to keep their spirits up at work and while studying. Moreover, a balanced diet and regular exercise will benefit them.

Due to the difficulties encountered, anxiety and fear are unavoidable so they are advised to take a relaxing vacation rather than struggle on.


Love for Zodiac Sign Rat

Rats always adapt themselves to a new environment. People born in Rat years react well in different social situations. They are good at making new friends due to their charming personalities.

Single Rats are likely to meet someone attractive easily but there is little likelihood that this will blossom into a relationship. Married couples tend to be suspicious of each other and argue a lot. By communicating more with each other, it is possible to avoid these arguments.


In 2020,  people born in a year of the Rat will have ups and downs.

Since it is the Ben Ming Nian (the corresponding animal year) for Rats, they will suffer from a lot of pressure at work but will reap benefits in their careers at the same time. People born in Rat years will receive high praise for their work and gain opportunities to show off their talents.

To obtain an optimistic and prudent lifestyle, Rats are advised to adjust their mind-sets to keep healthy and happy.

Read more on our Monthly Horoscope for Rats in 2020.

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 year 2020 is Rat Year. It starts from the Chinese New Year (January 25). Read more about How to Be Lucky in Your Ben Ming Nian.

Auspicious Places for Rats to Go in 2020

Great Wall Hiking

According to the Chinese Five Elements (五行, wǔ xíng) theory, 2020 is a Yang Metal Rat year. The Five Elements theory is the most important part of fengshui. A Rat’s sign is Metal according to the cycle of the five elements — the Earth element generates the Metal element and this can enhance their luck.

Therefore, people born in Rat years are recommended to go to places that are relevant to the Earth element.

Great Wall of China Tours: The Great Wall is a must for most first-time China trips. Its winding path over rugged countryside and steep mountains encompasses some great scenery.

Huangshan Tours: Huangshan is steeped in picturesque natural landscapes and history. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China. Visitors can marvel at the peculiarly-shaped rocks and pines on the Yellow Mountains.

Zhangjiajie Tours: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, which inspired the scenery in Avatar, is a must-see place because ofits extraordinary scenery.

Our trips can all be customized and they are private — there will be no strangers traveling with you so we have only your requirements to meet. You can start to create your tour here by telling us your interests, and you can travel at your own pace.

Check Other Chinese Zodiac Animals

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