Year of the Rat: Chinese Zodiac 2020

January 25th celebrates a new year on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. For 2020, here's to all of the Rats out there.

As covered in previous blogs, the Chinese Calendar is a Lunar Calendar based on the moon's orbits around Earth. The calendar follows a sixty year cycle divided into five elements and twelve animals. Each year corresponds to a specific element and animal; everyone born in 2020 is a Metal Rat. You are also a Metal Rat if you were born in 1960, exactly sixty years ago, and future Metal Rats will not grace us until 2080.

As each of the animals in the Chinese zodiac have certain baseline character traits and interactions, the same is true for the five elements. Consequently, a Metal Rat will behave different from a Fire Rat, or a Water Rat, and they in turn will also behave differently than an Earth Rat or a Wood Rat. The zodiac also insinuates varying job, education, healthy and relationship prospects for each.

The five elements come from the wu-xing philosophy. Wu-xing features predominantly in Eastern astrology and culture and is used as a way of traditionally explaining various interactions.


Curious about your own birth year? Feel free to explore, opens a new window to learn more about what zodiac you were born in, and what your future may hold!

The Chinese New Year is a time of celebration in numerous countries, particularly in Asia. Typically falling sometime between late January and early March, the Chinese New Year is based on the moon's cycles, and therefore falls on different days each year. Last year's celebration took place on February 5th, while New Year 2021 will fall on February 12th. The celebration includes a festival spanning fifteen days, where families come together to celebrate and pray for good fortune.

The celebration includes many iconic symbols and activities. Money encased in red envelopes is a common gift, particularly to children, as are oranges and other similar fruit. Lanterns are hung from buildings, sent into the sky, and even floated along rivers; one of the alternate names of the yearly event is the Lantern Festival.

The most famous activity, and one that has spread throughout the world, is fireworks. Fireworks originated in China and remain a staple of celebrations. In places with significant populations from East Asia, the Chinese New Year is the largest celebration of the year, and fireworks is always a big part of that. Notable celebrations outside of China include Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, San Francisco, and New York to name a few!

We hope this blog has been educational and informative. If you are looking for something else, the St. Tammany Parish Library is happy to offer use of our online catalog, opens a new window for more information on this and other searches you may have.

Also feel free to check out our collection of blogs from the STPL Bloggers, opens a new window. New articles post throughout the month on a variety of topics of interest, so feel free to check them out. Happy New Year!