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 a race to select the 12 animals to be his personal guards. The animals arrived in the order of the cycle.
People born in the Year of the Rat were born in 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, and 2020.
Though be careful, our Gregorian calendar does not line up perfectly with the Chinese lunisolar calendar. If you were born in January or February (generally, the Chinese New Year begins in late January or early February), check the Chinese New Year dates from your birth year to determine your correct zodiac sign!
If you’re a Rat, read on for a few more details!
They’re quick on their feet and inventive, finding opportunities and welcoming challenges in any situation. They can also find 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!
Look for: Ok with Monkey, Dog, or Pig, but Ox, Rabbit, and Dragon are best
Be careful around: Rooster, Horse
Chinese Zodiac Elements
Chinese astrology assigns each year with one of the five elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Earth, and Fire). When you combine these five elements with the 12-year cycle of animal signs, you get a 60-year cycle.
Each of those elements have associated meanings. Here they are on a rather simplistic level:
- Wood: creativity, imagination
- Fire: passion, adventure
- Metal: persistence, ambition
- Water: agility, eloquence
- Earth: patience, stability
To find your Chinese element, look at the last number of your birth year:
- For birth years ending in 0 or 1, your element is metal.
- For birth years ending 2 or 3, your element is water.
- For birth years ending in 4 or 5, your element is wood.
- For birth years ending in 6 or 7, your element is fire.
- For birth years ending in 8 or 9, your element is earth.
Again, though, remember that the Chinese calendar and the regular Gregorian calendar do not line up perfectly. If you were born in January or February, check to see which Chinese year you were actually born in!
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.