2020 – Year of the Rat

by M.L. Lee, 21/01/2020

This year’s Seollal is ushering in the Year of the Rat (aka Year of the Mouse). Some people prefer to say ‘mouse’ since the mice are cuter and more ‘pleasing’ than rats. That said, this first animal of the Korean Zodiac ended up in that position due to its cleverness and deceptive nature.

The order of the animals is said to be a result of a contest between the animals. When the gods were asked to decide which of them would be first, they decided to have all the animals swim accross a river. Each animal's place would be determined by the order in which they reached the opposite bank. According to some myths, unknown to the ox, the rat jumped on his back and hitched a ride, while others say that the ox generously agree to give the rat a ride. As they approached the shore, the rat jumped off the oxen's head and earned himself first place, with the ox following in second.

People born in the Year of the Rat (1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008) are reputed to be cheerful, hardworking, bright and sociable, resourceful and thrifty. They can be generous, but their generosity is often reserved for those closest to them. Their compatible signs are Dragon, Monkey, and Ox while they are the least compatible with those born in the Year of the Horse. Many successful business people and politicians may be ‘rats’.

Traditionally, the Rat is considered to usher in a year of prosperity, hope and opportunity. This hope is especially strong for this year as 2020’s rat is a ‘white’ rat year, something that only happens every 60 years. White rats are described as leaders of the pack, very wise and highly adaptable. Many Koreans are looking to the Year of the White Rat to be a time of regained economic momentum.

To learn more about Korean Zodiac animals, click here.


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