Welcome to the Year of the Rat (beginning January 25), a title applicable to so much more than the upcoming Chinese and Vietnamese New Years. Zodiac Rats were born in 1936, 1948,1960, 1972, 1984, 2008 and 2020. Other kinds of rats are born every day of every year.
“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 twelve zodiac animals.”
Different sources don’t agree on everything, but some say the rat’s lucky numbers are two and three and its lucky colors are gold, blue and green.
For mates, the rat would do well to choose an ox, rabbit or dragon. Strange pairings under normal conditions, and according to the analysts these rats like to play around before settling down.
As you might imagine, the rat has any number of different qualities depending on which website you read. Some of the positive ratty characteristics are that they’re charming, intelligent, witty, and outgoing. Rats also like to collect things. Think pack rat. Less fetching traits include being restless, picky, stubborn and greedy. Some say rats are good leaders because they do a better job of directing others than themselves.
As a practical matter, The Feng Shui experts recommend Rats wear amulets with rat symbols (bracelets, pendants, key rings). At home, they might want to place a statue representing a golden rat, the symbol of prosperity and luck, “in the northern side of the bedroom or living room.”
Curious as to what the fortune tellers predicted about how my zodiac animal — the dog — would fare in this rat year, I learned that I should place a dog statue in my bedroom — southern side — and carry a dog amulet with me at all times. At least they don’t tell me to buy a dog, which would cause great conflict at home (with my cat), in a year in which they predict great luck for me and other canines.
Enough on rats. By tomorrow I’ll be seeing ads for golden rat statues and keychains on Facebook.