(1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020)
The Chinese year of the Rat is a special one because the the Rat was the first animal to cross the finish line in a race to the Heavenly gate. The old Chinese story behind this was that the Jade emperor ordered the race to select the 12 animals that were to be his personal guards.
Year of the Rat people are born in 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020 so if you’re a Rat, read on for a few more details!
They’re quick on their feet and inventive, finding opportunities and welcome challenges in any situation—or ways out of tricky spots. As you can imagine, they have charm, humor, and good taste. They’re kind-spirited but can be judgmental, and their opportunistic natures can sometimes give way to scheming and conniving or greed!
(Fun fact: our cousins are twins born the year of the rat, and my aunt swears that the personality traits are split between the two of them! What’s more, she definitely agrees that they have done their fair share of devilish scheming…)
Chinese Zodiac Elements
Chinese astrology assigns each zodiac year with one of the five elements (Gold, Water, Wood, Earth, and Fire) with each element assigned to a zodiac animal year that recycles every 60 years. The 12-year cycle for each element starts with a year of the Rat and continues through the 12 zodiac animal years.
The year of the Rat was 2020 and starts 12 year element cycle for metal.
Each Zodiac sign is also assigned a fixed element and Water is the fixed element for the any year of the Rat as well as for any year of the Pig.
For more detailed information on Chinese elements, see this article on The Chinese Five Elements.
Full Zodiac Animal chart
Below is the full spectrum of Chinese zodiac animals. Click on the image to look up your own sign by birth year and read more about how Judy, Sarah and Kaitlin rediscovered their Chinese Zodiac signs in Hong Kong.
If you’re looking to shower your family and friends with well-wishes and greetings or at least understand them, check out 23 of the most common Chinese New Year greetings in both Mandarin and Cantonese.
Don’t forget to visit our Chinese New Year recipe planning guide to plan your own celebration meal.