Industrious and ambitious, observant Rats can find their way through any maze. These consummate hosts are obsessive about creating security, and may never truly stop worrying.
Rat Years in the Chinese zodiac
1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
What is the personality of a Rat?
A symbol of luck in Chinese astrology, the Rat is associated with financial prosperity, and this sign works hard to attain it. Looking for a Rat? Find the darkest corner of a home or office, and you’ll find one of these industrious people, toiling away at a project.
Crafty and clever, Rats are nervous creatures who can’t sit still. They try to act cool and composed, but they’re hopelessly twitchy (except when they’re working). Underneath their composed demeanors, Rats are big-time worriers. Like tiny rodents whose survival is threatened, Rats are obsessed with security. They never quite feel safe in the world, no matter how much money they make. Their drive is unparalleled. Like their signature animal, Rats often have sharp features, like pointy noses or narrow eyes. They can be consummate entertainers, hosts and decorators, welcoming guests into their well-appointed nests.
The Rat is ruled by the planet Jupiter
The Rat is ruled by the planet Jupiter, and this Chinese zodiac sign is considered to be the luckiest! Jupiter is the planet of good fortune, risk and optimism. It’s also the planet that “sets the clock” for Chinese astrology, which follows the 11.8-year cycle of Jupiter through the 12 signs. This is why the Chinese zodiac, like Jupiter, only changes to a new sign once a year.
In Western astrology, Jupiter rules Sagittarius, making this zodiac sign the international counterpart to the Rat. Indeed these are both visionary signs. While Sagittarius fires his Centaur arrows until hitting the mark, the scrappy, strategic Rat also has a “can’t stop-won’t stop” determination, running through the maze until it’s victorious.
Both the Rat and Sagittarius know how to make lemonade out of lemons, and are known as some of the finest entertainers in the solar system. Fun fact: a group of rats is called a “mischief,” and we’re certain jovial Jupiter would approve.
The Rat is the first zodiac sign in the Chinese horoscope. You may have heard the legend behind this: A procession of animals was marching to see the emperor, and the clever Rat rode on the helpful Ox’s back. Right as they approached the emperor’s throne, the crafty Rat leapfrogged off the Ox to be first in line—and that’s how the order of the animals in the Chinese zodiac was decided. Rat-a-tat-tat!
The “Animal Planets” in Chinese astrology (planetary rulers)
Other traits of the Rat Chinese astrology sign
Western Sign: Sagittarius
Famous Rats: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Scarlett Johanssen, Hilary Duff, Gwyneth Paltrow, George Washington, Hugh Grant, Jenny McCarthy, Notorious B.I.G., Ashlee Simpson, Jude Law, Carmen Electra, Mandy Moore, Shaquille O’Neal, Marie Kondo, Katy Perry, Lebron James, Khloe Kardashian, Calvin Harris, Mark Zuckerberg
The 5 Elements of Chinese Astrology
The Chinese zodiac is divided into five key elements of nature, or Wu Xing: wood, water, metal, fire and earth. Each lunar year is governed by a different element.
Years Ending in are ruled by:
Rat years and their elements
1900: Metal Rat
1912: Water Rat
1924: Wood Rat
1936: Fire Rat
1948: Earth Rat
1960: Metal Rat
1972: Water Rat
1984: Wood Rat
1996: Fire Rat
2008: Earth Rat
2020: Metal Rat
Not a Rat? Find your Chinese zodiac sign and element using the calculator below:
Find your Chinese Zodiac sign
Find your Chinese/lunar year zodiac sign
Learn which animal archetype ruled over the 12-month lunar year that you were born:
Find our elemental year (metal, water, wood, fire or earth)
Every decade is divided into two-year blocks, each ruled by an element:
The Chinese zodiac sign that governs your birth year can tell you a lot about your personality, interests, romantic compatibility and career path. Learn more about your Chinese zodiac in the Chinese astrology section of Astrostyle.
Feature art by Rosie Dienhart