The rat in the Chinese horoscope

The rat in the Chinese horoscope

The rat for the Chinese is an animal to which are associated some positive and some negative qualities, in fact it is considered capable of carrying out numerous enterprises, not in vain it was the first animal to be assigned a sign of the zodiac, but it never reaches perfection in its tasks.

Of sharp intelligence, it has a somewhat magical air, and in literature is often shown with gifts of divination, however it is an animal that causes great losses in agriculture, so people feel a love-hate relationship with them.

In many places there are popular festivals in honor of rats, especially:

Rat Day: the 25th of the first month. In some villages,  ceremonies are held to drive them away, in others, men, powerless before their power, simply implore them to eat the herbs and leave the grain to the men.

Wedding of the Rat: 25th of the first month. Men take great care not to disturb the rat on such an auspicious date, in the hope that the rats will not disturb them the rest of the year either.

Rat folklore:

Williams (p. 339) states, «The character with which it is written is derived from the ancient pictogram of a rat, representing the head, whiskers, legs, and tail…. The rat is an emblem of timidity and meanness. It is also considered a symbol of industry and prosperity because of its ability to locate, acquire and accumulate abundant food supplies. The rat forms part of the diet of the Cantonese, famous for eating everything, dried and offered for sale, and is eaten mainly by the boat people and by people who are prone to baldness, feet its meat is considered an effective ‘hair restorer’.»

Eberhard (226) adds that the rat is associated with money; and when a rat is heard scavenging for food at night, it is said to be «counting money.» Money-rat ‘is a derogatory way of referring to a miser.

“Rats used to be left undisturbed on certain days of the year so that they could marry in peace! In a southern Chinese legend, it is the rat that brings rice to mankind. Rats can become demons, usually male, in contrast to the fox which becomes a female demon. When rats appear in a house, it is a sign that the family will soon be in poverty.”

And Zhang Fang (pp. 16 and 18) says that in the imagination of ancient China the most important extraordinary ability of rats was divination. An ancient book says that rats can live up to 300 years, and when they reach 100, they turn white and develop the ability to practice divination. In other words, they can predict good and bad luck in the coming year and describe things that happen thousands of miles away. There are several old sayings about the magical power of mice. Among these is one that goes when mice dance at the door of the king’s palace, the state will fall; and when mice dance in the courtyard, the family of the owner of the house will suffer disaster.

A book records the adventure of an eminent monk named Dao An. He once passed through the Kingdom of Mice on his way to the Western Regions. He encountered mice that varied in size. Some were as big as dogs, some the size of rabbits, and some the size of ordinary mice. Each had a white head and wore a yoke around its neck. Whenever they encountered a passing merchant who ignored them and refused to pay homage to their god, they would bite off his clothes. In the Stories of the Immortals there are some narratives about the wickedness of mice.

The rat in the horoscope

Since in China we are governed by the lunar calendar, and in the West by the solar calendar, the beginning and end of each year does not coincide exactly. Therefore, before knowing what the Chinese horoscope says about your sign, make sure that you were indeed born under the sign of the Rat, as are the people born on the dates included in the table on the left.

31-1-1900 to 18-2-1901 – Metal

18-2-1912 to 5-2-1913 – Water

5-2-1924 to 23-1-1925 – Wood

24-1-1936 to 10-2-1937 – Fire

10-2-1948 to 28-1-1949 – Earth

28-1-1960 to 14-2-1961 – Metal

15-2-1972 to 2-2-1973 – Water

2-2-1984 to 19-2-1985 – Wood

19-2-1996 to 6-2-1997 – Fire

To complete your cosmic profile it is necessary to know the influence of the Five Elements on your life. Check in the table above the element to which you belong. The hour of birth also has a great influence on a person’s character. It is generally considered that those born during the zi hour (from 11 pm to 1 am) acquire some qualities of the rat, and tend to be more arrogant than those born at other times.

People born under the sign of the Rat are active, resourceful and with good intuition. Optimistic, they sometimes fail to see clearly the risks of an enterprise. Very sociable, loyal friends, and with a great sense of family responsibility. Good businessmen, quite thrifty, even stingy at times.

They get along very well with: Ox, Dragon, Snake.

They have frequent conflicts with: Horse, Rooster, Sheep.

Image: The Wedding of the Rat in the New Year paintings.

Learn more:

Eberhard, Wolfram: A dictionary of Chinese Symbols. Rouledge. London and New York. 1989.

Williams, C.A.S. Outlines of Chinese Symbolism & art motives. Dover. New York. 1976.

Zhang Fang. Animal Symbolism of the Chinese Zodiac. Foreign Languages Press. Beijing.1999.


Cite this article as: Ceinos-Arcones, Pedro, «The Zhunti Temple in Kunming, a cult to a mysterious goddess,» in Ethnic China, 17 febrero 2021,


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