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Year of the Rat Predictions

by Rae Bordua

Symbolism and History

January 25, 2020 is New Year’s Day, according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar used by millions all over the world together with the Gregorian calendar. And according to the Chinese almanac, the year is 4717 and a Year of the White Metal Rat or lún bái shǔ (白錀鼡).

The rat is the first in a 12-lunar-year cycle of animal-year signs. The twelve animals, in order, are rat, buffalo, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Thus, the last year was Pig and the next will be Ox. The last Year of the Rat began on February 7, 2008 and ended on January 25, 2009. The next Year of the Rat will begin on February 11, 2032 and end on January 30, 2033.
The rat is one of the symbolical animals corresponding to or having affinity with the first of the Twelve Terrestrial Branches, called the “Zi” Branch, and symbolizes an egg or a beginning.  It represents the beginning of the winter season, December, the eleventh month in the Taoist lunar calendar. It is an emblem of timidity and meanness, of ingenuity and fertility. It is also regarded as the symbol of industry and prosperity on account of its ability for locating, acquiring and hoarding abundant supplies of food. This branch will not rest until it solves the mystery or uncovers the secret; it is the most inquisitive of all the branches, and is considered the schemer of the Chinese zodiac. The Rat is an innovator, an experienced negotiator and net worker, both sociable and active, and is considered the schemer of the Chinese zodiac. . His adept flattery and solicitous nature open many doors into influential circles. He is sentimental and intuitive in his relationships and can be very giving. Fiercely protective of those he loves and of his own interests, he is a perceptive and penetrating critic of his enemies. One is well advised to listen to his advice. His innovation, honesty, charm and persistence make him a formidable business person who will make his presence felt in any field in which he participates. He is an opportunist who likes to seize the initiative, and is ambitious and progress-oriented. He needs to stay occupied lest he can become restless or short-tempered.

A Taoist legend has it that Buddha summoned together twelve symbolic animals to cross the river and come to him before he departed the Earth. With his wit and intelligence, the Rat rode on Ox’s back then, as Ox approached the bedside, Rat jumped off and showed up first. As recompense for his promptness, Buddha awarded him the honor of first position and leadership of the lunar cycle.

In Japanese lore, the Rat is the symbol or attribute of Daikoku, the popular god of wealth and prosperity, commerce, the kitchen, and food. The patron deity of artisans, craftsmen, farmers and millers, as well as of businessmen, bankers and financiers, Daikoku is one of the Shichi Fukujin, or Seven Lucky Gods of Japan.

The Rat was supposed by the ancient Chinese to turn into a quail in the spring, and quails into rats during the eighth month. The actual date of transformation was recorded in the imperial almanac. Rats have a split personality because the hours of Rats encompass both Yin and Yang (11 PM to 1 AM). Also, the front paws of the rat have four fingers (Yin) and the back paws have five toes (Yang).

The Rat will have a happy childhood and a carefree youth — perhaps the best time of his life. The second part of his life, however, may be stormy and troublesome. He may lose his money in a bad business deal, or his happiness in an unfortunate love affair. The third part of his life will be comfortable, and his old age as peaceful as he could wish. However, according to legend Rats tend to die a sudden death.

Rats born in the evening are more alert, active and hardworking than those born during the day. For the Rat, however, everything varies according to whether he was born in the summer or the winter of his year. In summer the lofts and granaries are full, but in winter he will be obliged to go out and forage for his food, and he must watch out for the traps set along the route. In human terms, this could mean the risk of prison or an accidental death.


Virtues and Vices

In the traditional Chinese mind, which is echoed in the annually-reprinted ancient almanac, the Rat is the sign of ambition, charm and aggressiveness. Though he appears calm, well-balanced and happy on the surface, the patient and practical Rat can be anxious, restless, agitated and quick-tempered when he loses control. His tendencies are more toward the intellectual than the manual. Not only imaginative but also perceptive, the Rat is able to see things realistically and can instantaneously access people and situations. Alert and level-headed, he knows when to seize an opportunity and has no qualms about how unscrupulously he may gain the advantage in any particular situation. He also is willing to put in a lot of hard work to reach his objective. He is well informed and given to checking out all the options before taking a stand. Frugal and cost-conscious, he is always comparing and bargaining to get the best possible deal. He can come on too strong for some people but he just feels he needs to take control of the situation before things get out of hand. Because Rat is a nocturnal animal, he loves to stay up until the wee hours, for that is his creative time. He is adept at ferreting out the secrets of others, while guarding his own adroitly. The Rat is at his best in a crisis.

The main virtue in the Rat character is honesty. Anything he undertakes he will follow though to the bitter end. Communication is his forte and he is always in touch with his environment. This is an aggressive male or positive sign in Chinese reckoning and with his Yang character he is able to fend for himself because he is rarely in doubt about what he wants. Persistent and hardworking, he feels he should be well rewarded for his efforts and is not above taking his just due if he feels he will be short-changed or cheated in any way.
A tendency to be lazy and materialistic are perhaps the most negative of the Rat qualities. Unfortunately, although parsimonious with his money sometimes he can be a spendthrift; he will deny himself nothing. Rats can be terrible gossips and charming parasites. When unhappy or beset with difficulties, they can become fretful and obsessive, threatening an anger that might break through their usual charming and easy-going nature. Under negative influences they can be sly, secretive, critical and judgmental of others. They can be relentlessly striving perfectionists perpetually dissatisfied with themselves. The most important thing for the Rat to remember is to take it a little more easy on himself, learn to accept his mistakes and indulge himself in a few harmless peccadilloes. After all, he’s only human. He must learn to control his avarice and ambition. His most important lesson in life is knowing when to stop and in not underestimating others. Luck and being in the right place can only take him so far. If he could master his perpetual discontent and his insistence on living in the present moment, he would have very few difficulties.
Charming, materialistic, warm-hearted and passionate, Rats are opportunists who live for the moment and seldom plan for the future. They are not built for hard work. When they make money it is usually a result of their intelligence. Their sharp eye for detail and good bargaining abilities provide them with a head start in business. They are highly sociable and enjoy large gatherings. They have great appetites and appreciate fine cuisine. They are renowned for their loyalty to both family and friends. Rats absolutely dote upon their children and easily express the physical side of love. They find it virtually impossible to deny those whom they love anything. Rats are introverted but can’t wait to get out and enjoy life. Rats are generally lucky and can easily adapt to any company and circumstances with their quick wits and broadminded approach.

Rat Male and Female


fficient and practical, the male Rat is always on the alert for business opportunities, and would come across to others as somewhat curt and intrusive were it not for his renowned charisma. He is a hard worker with a quick mind and a good sense of humor. His outgoing personality wins him many friends and admirers who provide him with considerably useful insider information. This is only one of the reasons why he excels in business; another is that he is very approachable and is willing to participate in many different work schemes. No matter how calm and self-controlled he appears on the surface, underneath it all the Rat’s emotions are roiling and he longs to eloquently express them to others. He is prone to develop spontaneous attachments and finds it difficult to extricate himself once he has become personally involved.

Although not pretty in a classical sense, Lady Rat has incredibly irresistible animal magnetism, an appealing personality, and retains a youthful air well into middle age and beyond. She is a sophisticate and nobody’s fool. She likes doing things her own way, and has a prodigious talent for throwing together whatever is available and stretching it to the utmost to meet needs. Her thrifty ways do not extend to her cherished offspring, loving partner or elder family members, however; from them she can withhold nothing. and is perpetually looking out for her clan’s interests. She is a marvelous homemaker willing to take on a dizzying amount of social activities and household chores. Gregarious, chatty and opinionated, Lady Rat is a welcome addition to any community event. If she can overcome her lack of self-confidence, her many talents and attention to detail would ensure success in a variety of careers, particularly those involving writing.

The Metal Rat

Notwithstanding that metal is feminine (as it is pulled from the feminine earth), the Metal Rat, also known as the White Rat, expresses masculine yang energy and is personified by a weapon. White Rat is the epitome of a Rat, both the best and worst of the sign. Those born in this year are conscientious, tenacious survivors who are intense, trustworthy, and possess a laser-like ability to focus; they have the talent to set goals and effortlessly achieve them. The Metal Rat is a charming raconteur with a captivating and likeable personality, which helps him thrive in his business investments. Despite his many victories however, he has a tendency to be envious of others’ accomplishments. His personal relationships can become asymmetrical due to his compulsion to wield power over his partners. When confronted, the Metal Rat can become shrill, garrulous, deafening, contentious, and belligerent. The metal element in him causes others to perceive him as cold, indifferent and brusque; however, the Metal Rat is quite emotional at heart and feels all encounters profoundly. He is very gracious and and sensitive to others, but only those people who can advance his interests.

The Metal Rat is a sybarite and bon vivant who wants to taste all that the world has to offer so can be uncharacteristically (at least for a Rat) improvident with his money. He will consign the menial labor to servants and contractors in order to leave time open for adorning his surroundings, indulging in his taste for fine fashions, and conspiring on new ways to beguile prominent people into his circle. The Metal Rat is a hoarder who wants only the best for himself but solely at bargain prices and does not like to share any of it with others. When it comes to romance and amusements, if it costs money he’d just as soon do without it. He can be neurotic when it comes to capital and social accomplishments, continually fomenting schemes to strike it rich. He will succeed by being less stubborn, welcoming change and looking ahead to the future. To do this he must articulate his feelings, including grief, and discover his own path to emotional restoration.

Rat Relationships

Dynamic and idealistic, the practical Rat will bond well with those who share the same progress- and performance-oriented outlook on life, self-starters like himself who are adept at handling matters with initiative and innovation. He will be most compatible with the enthusiastic Dragon, the reliable Ox and the clever Monkey. They work well together because they have a common way of doing things and appreciate each other’s way of thinking. He will have no conflict with the Snake, Tiger, Dog, Boar or another Rat. Marriage with either a Rooster or a Sheep is ill advised. However, most of the Rat’s problems will arise from the Rabbit and the Horse. With the self-centered and moody Horse in particular he will encounter distrust, unhappiness, personality clashes and complications. Even if both have a similar goal, it would be best for them to deal through intermediaries and mutual friends they respect. Above all, it is catastrophic for a Rat male to marry a Fire Horse female. Fortunately the year of the Fire Horse (1906-1966-2026) occurs only once every sixty years, which limits the potential for calamity.

Occupations and Important People

The almanac lists the occupations for the Rat — shopkeeper, antique dealer, commercial traveler, official. Rats have a natural talent for the arts, specifically writing. The Rat may be an accountant, auctioneer, broker, financial advisor, connoisseur, publicist, publisher, businessman, musician, songwriter, painter, lawyer, pathologist, pawnbroker, prostitute, politician, moneylender, crook, detective or critic.

Some important people born in the Year of the Rat are William Shakespeare, François René, Chateaubriand, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, George Washington, Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, Jules Verne, Benjamin Disraeli, Joseph Kennedy, Tchaikovsky, Lauren Bacall, Adlai Stevenson, Franz Joseph Haydn, Hugh Grant, Charlotte Bronté, George Sand, Marlon Brando, Roy Rogers, Gene Kelly, Sarah Vaughan, Doris Day, James Taylor, HRH Prince Harry, T.S.Eliot, Plato, Willa Cather, Prince Charles, Clark Gable, Mata Hari, Lucrezia Borgia, Harpo Marx, Emile Zola, Sean Penn, Helen Hayes, Jimmy Carter, Gerard Depardieu, Antoine de St. Exupéry, Louis Armstrong and Vanessa Redgrave.

Year Predictions

The Year of the Rat is a time of opportunity and great bounty in which fortunes can easily be made. This is the time to make long-term investments. In theory, any ventures begun this year will be successful; however, it is important to avoid taking unnecessary chances or risks. Gambling and wild speculation should be avoided. Success this year depends on being cautious and discriminating: then all goes well. This is a powerful year in which peolpe seek permanence and stability, and are realistic about their goals, passions and aspirations, although much is based on trust. It is an excellent time to start a business, buy property, invest in long-term plans, or accumulate wealth. It is also a time for socializing, entertaining and enjoying the bounty that life has to offer. Since it begins the 12-year cycle, this is an auspicious year for laying down plans, for formulating new initiatives, starting new projects and generally turning over a new leaf. Radical political, social, professional or domestic changes may be instituted now with confidence of development and success in subsequent years.

Predictions for Signs

The almanac also states how people born under other signs will fare in the Year of the Rat. This is an auspicious year for Rats, Oxen, Dragons, Sheep, Monkeys and Boars. It can be a difficult year for Tigers, Snakes and Horses. Roosters and Tigers should beware their finances, and Horses, Dogs and Rabbits should take care in their relationships this year.

The following are forecasts for the individual signs in the Year of the Rae:

The Rat

The very prosperous and lucky year of the Rat brings protection, abundance and good fortune to the Rat born.  Empowered by experiencing his own year, he can look forward to a promotion or other advancement in his career, achievement and unexpected gains; he should be happy and content both in business and in love, and creativity is stimulated. However, the Rat will find it a busy year in which he will have to earn whatever he receives. His schedule will be hectic; he will have too much to do and not enough time to do it. Aside from unexpected achievements and monetary gains, the Rat should take care of his health as slight illnesses, loss of property and accidents worry him and may hamper his overall progress. In this year, the Rat should plan the next dozen years carefully. In two years’ time, he ought to be well embarked on his twelve-year plan and will be safely equipped to deal with the inevitable adversities ahead.


The Ox

This is a smooth and prosperous year for the Ox from all points of view, and he will have much to celebrate. Not only will opportunities drive up and present themselves to him, they are sure to have brought good fortune along for the ride. Luck will favor his undertakings and his problems will tend to work themselves out if he is not overanxious and does not try too hard. There won’t be much need to be overly concerned about finances, although the Ox tends to worry about security more than necessary. Perhaps he should take advantage of the general trend of the year to put aside money for a rainy day or lay the foundation of a new business or enterprise that could grow into something substantial. The Ox gains recognition for his previous contributions and may assume new positions of importance, acquiring financial gain in the process. Friends and associates will be helpful and beneficial. Whatever resistance the Ox has been feeling from loved ones or uncertain partners will dissipate this year. At home, there will be many events to be celebrated. He would be well advised to take a holiday, at the very least to mix some business with pleasure. Perhaps the Ox should take his mate along on a luxurious business trip. He’s earned a break!


The Tiger

The best thing for Tigers to do is to keep a low profile and their eyes focused on the future, for there is nothing for them in this year of compromises. It is a difficult time for business. Money could be scarce or withheld, and the Tiger must avoid acting on impulse in frustration. Business and career advancement will be difficult and luck seems to elude the restless Tiger until after summer. Progress and success can be attained only by exercising prudence and a conservative approach. He should restrain himself, avoid impulsive acts of daring and risk taking; things could backfire. Only minimal gains and advancements can be expected. He should invest his money only in surefire schemes. This is not time to spend on frivolities.


The Rabbit

The year of the Rat will provide a quiet and calm time for the peaceful Rabbit, with opportunities for advancement.  No serious opposition is foreseen at work or at home. This is an auspicious time for the Rabbit to make plans for the future, change residence, buy property or invest. Although progress will be steady, with no big surprises or upsets, the year will not be as fruitful as he would like. He needs to examine all documents carefully and be less naively trusting. The Rabbit should be alert for disloyalty among his peers — especially the Rats with whom he lives or works. He needs to invest his money wisely but not take too many chances or listen to the advice of people who claim to have insider information.  This could be a year of betrayals.


The Dragon

The year of the Rat brings prosperity for the Dragon, and he will have a lively time with romance and business interests. Although no major problems at home or at work are foreseen, the Dragon must still be careful as one bad deal would deplete his resources. But no matter what transpires, he will find life relaxing and his overall work performance will be good. Rat’s influence brings new beginnings and exciting creative endeavors that perfectly match Dragon’s flamboyant style. He should take advantage of it by making investments. Get-rich-quick schemes are to be resisted, as well as a tendency to overspend. He’ll be needing that extra capital in the very near future.


The Snake

This will be an active and hectic year for the Snake, with much traveling and running around as new outlooks and opportunities present themselves. They may not all be worthwhile but the Snake will have to check out all options before he can make intelligent choices. If he remains calm and centered and addresses each problem as it arises, progress can be attained especially in business. This will also be a year of dramatic events, both good and bad. The Snake will make some advancement in his career provided he cultivates the right people. Financial gains will outweigh losses, and his problems will be solved through the goodwill of and intervention by powerful friends. It is best for him to practice frugality and neither lend nor borrow money during this time. He may suffer from slight depression over increased responsibilities, bringing loss of self-confidence and self-doubt. Cash flow problems may arise towards the end of this year. Generally his health picture is good.


The Horse

This is a difficult year marked by money troubles and unhappy romantic entanglements. Horses must be careful to avoid conflicts and confrontations, especially with the authority figures and the law, and refrain from lending or borrowing money. In other words, it would be advisable for them to lay low, mind their own business and keep their own counsel. This is a time for them to be cautious and persevering. There could be some monetary troubles concerning the Horse’s family as he is unable to balance his finances because of unforeseen expenses. The Horse benefits from prudent spending, disciplined work, and behaving less free spirited. Otherwise he will either stumble on perilous adventures at every turn or discover to his horror that he’s been swindled. The Horse should save his money; he’ll be needing it. In business as in love — take care!


The Sheep

The Rat’s year brings opportunities and prosperity for the Sheep, in which gifts are foreseen along with gains from unlikely sources such as gambling or the lottery. He can expect success in both business and romance. However, he will also be expected to work hard and meet deadlines. Industriousness and dedication to duty will pay off handsomely. In general, the Sheep’s family and home life may be stable and calm, but romance and social successes are foreseen if he is unattached. No illnesses or major problems should trouble the Sheep. This is a time to count his blessings and pay off his debts. The wise Sheep should use this budget-conscious Rat year to plan and save his money for leaner years. But, if he is a typical profligate Sheep, he will probably just blow through it all, hoping and praying that the economies of his partners, associates or lovers will keep him afloat during hard times.


The Monkey

This is a lucky and prosperous year for the Monkey, in which money comes from unlikely sources or ventures he has given up on. Expect good fortune and opportunities for advancement. Success is indicated in all endeavors, and if by chance a Rat should fall in love with one, you’ll see the happiest Monkey on earth! This is definitely the time for the Monkey to harvest the many seeds he may have planted in the past. He should also follow up on opportunities and advance his position or ask for loans and favors owed him. On the home front, he will have a lot of activities — romance, new family members or a big reunion and renewal of old contacts. Problems are easily solved at this time and the Monkey’s know-how is sought after by important people. It is fortunate that the Monkey has been restraining his joie de vivre over the past couple of years as now is the time to let some of it loose. The Rat year brings enough wealth to be able to save for a rainy day.


The Rooster

The Rat may bring a busy and challenging year in which money is hard to come by and the Rooster finds little or no assistance from friends or associates. Troubles at home and minor health problems are indicated. He may be under so much stress that he feels others are imposing on him. Even though his earnings will be good, the Rooster may experience financial difficulties through bad business deals, loss of money to friends or family, and may have to use savings. This is a time for him to practice discretion and much moderation, to start saving and putting cash into a variety of rock solid investments. However, he could encounter success and gains in unlikely places and therefore should not discount opportunities even if they do not appear promising at first glance. This is not the time to be impulsive or make any grand decisions. Also, the Rooster should avoid gambling of all kinds — Lady Luck is not on his side this year.


The Dog

The Rat brings forth a fortunate year for the Dog, marked by business successes or profits from investments. The seeds he planted in the past will finally bear fruit. His health is strong and illness can be avoided but there will be some problems in his home life or with young children. He should refrain from lending money to friends and relatives alike. The Rat’s year also brings good news mixed with gossip and rumor, so the Dog must learn to discount what he hears and only believe in proven facts. Overall, this will be a busy and exciting time for the Dog, but too much focus on work and money can become drudgery and not mentally stimulating enough, causing him to become bored and lose his momentum. Investments won’t interest him unless they pay bigger dividends than they do here. The Rat year always strikes him as a little too materialistic. Next year will suit him better.

The Pig

Boars will do very good business in the year of the Rat, although there may be minor financial difficulties or delays that could cause worry. Work and home life are unsettled, and there may be losses where Boars had expected gains, making it hard for him to relax and enjoy life as he usually does. He cannot be presumptuous this year as things do not always go as planned. The opportunity this time brings could also carry a great deal of commitment and responsibility for the Boar and, in the end, may prove to be more expensive than anticipated. However, he will find friends to help him or he will pool his resources with others to achieve his goals. Romance is highlighted, social success is foreseen, and Boar has opportunities to enjoy new experiences. As long as he doesn’t get lazy or lose sight of his main goals, the Boar should thrive in this vintage year.