Gong xi fa cai! Wishing you great happiness and prosperity.
January 25th, 2020 marks the first day of the year of the Metal Rat in the Chinese zodiac. As the first sign of the twelve zodiac animals, the Rat’s return represents rebirth and a new beginning of the cycle.
In Chinese astrology, each animal has a unique blend of personality characteristics that influence those born within the lunar year. Babies born in the year of the Rat are known for their resourceful nature, commitment to family and superior social skills. Energetic and well-connected, the Rat is always on the go.
The year ahead
This Metal Rat year will be a busy one. We will push ourselves to improve and try to outdo our neighbours. The strength of the metal element this lunar year gives a harder edge to this Rat’s style, and metal’s ability to conduct electricity adds an additional punch of energy to this year’s rhythm.
Discover your baby's birthstone—and beautiful ways to wear itThe Metal Rat will bring a heightened appreciation for beauty and competition. We will spend on our homes and our children, and it will be difficult to temper our giving when we are “investing” in the ones we love. At its best, the year will bring out our idealism. At its worst, we can overindulge and bite off more than we can chew.
This year, we will have pace ourselves and remember that small wins can add up to a lot in the end.
The history of the Rat
The Rat’s go-getter personality is quite legendary. There are many versions of how the Rat came to be the first animal of the zodiac, but my mother’s version is my favourite.
When the Lord Buddha was leaving Earth, he asked the Rat to spread the word to the rest of the animal kingdom, so they could attend the farewell. The Rat, aware of his small size and slow speed, asked the Ox to give him a ride, so they could cover more ground as a team. The two animals quickly shared the message and arrived first at the party.
In appreciation, the Lord Buddha honoured them as signs of the zodiac but had to decide who would be first. Initially, Lord Buddha thought the Ox would hold the first spot, but the Rat quickly asserted her leadership as the messenger, supported by the honest Ox. Swayed by her case, the Rat earned the top spot—leave it to the Rat to stand her ground and come out on top.
Rats are often underestimated, but that’s fine with them. You’d be surprised how much can be accomplished outside of the limelight. Perhaps it’s the Rat’s hardworking nature or its ability to influence the masses. Those born under this sign can achieve big things little by little.
Babies born in the year of the Rat
It is a blessing to welcome a Rat into the family. With Rats, friendship and love are always generously returned. Rats cannot help but watch over family and friends, even from a young age. Whether you are having your first child or adding a sibling, Rat children have a sweet nature that warms every home. They love to help, organize and will assert independence early on in getting things done for themselves.
A young rat can be both simultaneously independent and clingy. Funny how a Rat child can seem completely lost in a book oblivious to the outside world only to lose it the minute a parent is out of sight. Children born under this sign will find it uncomfortable to play alone for too long and will have a hard time transitioning away from a family member’s care. They will feel most at ease amongst family and friends—the more the merrier and no matter where they go in their young adult lives, they always have a way of ending up close to home.
Laura Lau is a writer and mom based in Los Angeles. She is the author of Wedding Feng Shui and co-author of The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes (North Atlantic Books), now in its 40th anniversary edition.