According to Chinese Astrology, rats aren’t the creepy creatures lurking around in your attic. Nor are they Charlie Brown’s point of exasperation (“Aw, Rats!”) or a gangster’s most loathed enemy (the yellow-bellied rat). Rather, rats are protectors and symbols of prosperity, and for the most part, a good omen. The Year of the Rat, starting February 7, 2008 and ending January 25, 2009, is supposed to be a wealthy and prosperous one.
If you were born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, or 2008, then you’re a rat. People born in the Year of the Rat are supposed to be hard working and industrious. They are perfectionists, meticulous, practical, and intelligent. Being the first sign of the zodiac, they are natural born leaders and pioneers. They are rarely idle, and work hard and long for their success.
In their friendships, rats are very loyal, dependable, and charming. Although their charm attracts many people, they will only become close friends with a few. Because they are cunning and strong-willed, sometimes they are viewed as opportunists who recruit others to help them in their ambitions.
Negative traits include being obstinate and controlling. Because they are not prone to emotional showings, they can be calculating and conniving. They are prone to gossip and can be overly critical.
In their relationships, Rats are most compatible with the Dragon, Monkey, and Ox (see Love Matches: Decoding Chinese Astrology).
Famous people born in the Year of the Rat include Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck, Shakespeare, Charlotte Brontë, Truman Capote, Catherine I, Prince Charles, Sasha Cohen, Eminem, Peter the Great, and Scarlett Johansson.
A Rat Year is supposed to be a time of hard work and new beginnings. It is a good time to get a new job, get married, start a business, or begin a new project. Because rats are supposed to be symbols of prosperity, this year should be a good time to accumulate wealth, but those that save will be rewarded over those that splurge.
Whether you ascribe to Chinese Astrology or not, it will be fun to see how the Year of the Rat predictions play out. I’m not sure if rats I know embody all the traditional characteristics, but I’m hoping the year will have us exclaiming, like Templeton in Charlotte’s Web did, “Rats rule!”