Today starts the year of the rat. The rat is the first year in the Chinese cycle of 12 years. This year is the year 4120 , the celebration of the year of the rat.
People born in this year are said to be creative, ambitious, wasteful, clever and quick. Richard Simmons, Al Gore and George Washington are examples of famous people born in the year of the rat.
Celebrations with the rat image decorate lanterns and dishes in the new year’s celebrations. Some countries even mint coins with the rat displayed on the coin.
So how did the rat get first billing in the line up of the Chinese Zodiac signs? Folk lore tells of the jade emperor decided to name the twelve parts of the sky after common animals. One of the animals was the cat. She was lazy and asked the rat to wake her when it was her turn to compete. The rat let her sleep and when the animals were called into the emperor’s presence to have years named for them, there were only 11 animals present.
Quickly, a replacement was found. The new replacement, the rat. He went on to win the competiton by playing a flute while riding the bull. The jade emperor named the first year for the winner, the rat.
So order some Chinese take out from your favorite restaurant. Don’t forget the egg rolls to symbolize gold bricks hoping prosperity and wealth in this new year. Good colors for the new year are green, red and gold. Be sure to have some red and green in your food to go with the golden rolls.
Red, Green and Gold
Of red, green and gold
so the story is told
of an emperor of old
with a rat embold
The rat did compete
playing a flute on the bull’s seat
none could compete
the cat ran in defeat
all tasks he completes
the rat takes his seat.