YEAR OF THE RAT: THINGS YOU’D WANT TO KNOW & DO À LA CHINESE

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A GUIDEPOST Report

  • The date of the CHINESE NEW YEAR is moveable, depending on the lunar cycle. In 2020, being the YEAR OF THE METAL RAT, the New Year begins on the 25th of January, per the Gregorian (Solar) calendar, and lasts five days through the 8th of February.
  • The Year of the Metal Rat ends on 11 February 2021.
  • The Rat symbolizes wealth and the beginning of a new day.

    The Rat is the first of all the Chinese zodiac animals. Rats are clever and quick thinkers, successful but content with living quiet and peaceful lives. They symbolize wealth and the beginning of a new day.

  • The 27th of January 2020 is the DAY Of THE RAT, the day the Rats marry. So as not to disturb the Rats on their wedding day, the Chinese go to bed early, leaving grains and crackers in corners to share their harvests with these rodents. It’s a give-and-take. Undisturbed, the rats will leave the people alone throughout the year in return.
  • The Rat is akin to the Sagittarius in the Western zodiac.
  • The 24th of January is the New Year’s Eve.
  • The Chinese celebrate the Eve with a “reunion dinner”, the most important meal of the year. After which, children will receive red envelopes stuffed with money. The family will then stay up late and wait for the New Year to arrive.

    Chinese New Year red envelopes

  • The New Year is popularly known as the Spring Festival.
  • The New Year’s seven lucky foods:
    Fish for prosperity.
    Dumplings and Spring Rolls for wealth.
    Glutinous Rice Cake for higher income or position.
    Sweet Rice Balls for family togetherness.
    Noodles for happiness and longevity.
    Good Fortune Fruit for fullness and wealth.
  • It is forbidden to clean and sweep at the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Sweeping will sweep away the good fortune throught the year.

    Lantern Festival

  • Lantern Festival signals the end of the Chinese New Year. Timed to occur on the full moon, moon gazing among the lanterns is a favorite activity. Riddles are inscribed on the lanterns.

 

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Main sources:
chinesenewyear.net
chinahighlights.com

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Images
Featured image/George Tan, PD
New day/_sarchi, CC BY2.0
Red envelopes/Oldie-commonswiki, PD
Lantern Festival/Jack Parkinson, CC BY2.0