It’s the Chinese New Year of the Rat. The rat is the first if the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. The rat is a
revered animal in the Chinese culture symbolizing vitality, intelligence, shrewdness, independence, hard work and, persistence. Each year the animal of the Chinese Zodiac is also associated with one of the 5 elements – earth, metal water, wood and fire. This year’s rat is a metal rat which is characterized as being strong, smart, talented, self-aware, jealous and short-tempered.
The year of the rat brings the prospects of optimism and good fortune to most of the Chinese zodiac characters. It is promising to be a positive year full of change, new beginnings, fulfilling your potential and finding happiness in your personal life.
Characteristics of people Born in the Year of the Rat include:
- Sensitive to others’ emotions
- Weak communication skills
- Loyal, Devoted & Protective of Friends
Did you know that the Chinese New Year is a 15 day celebration? It begins on the new moon on the first day of the first lunar month and ends on the full moon making it a full 15 days of celebration. Each day is marked by a special activity.
Day 1: Birthday of Chicken – Visit elderly family members to strengthen family ties. Usually tea and sweet treats such as sugared fruits are eaten.
Day 2: Birthday of Dog – Welcoming of Sons-in-Law, married women pay respect to their parents along with their husbands. Wontons are eaten. Pets and stray animals are fed well.
Day 3: Birthday of Pig – Visit graves of deceased loved ones.
Day 4: Birthday of Sheep – This is a continuation of visiting the graves of the deceased.
Day 5: Birthday of Ox/Cattle – This day is regarded as the birth of the god of wealth. Dumplings are eaten. Friends and classmates are visited.
Day 6: Birthday of Horse - Visit temples, relatives and friends.
Day 7: Birthday of Men – It is said that the goddess Nuwa created the common man and animals. In honor of her creations a either vegetable dishes or raw fish and vegetables are eaten to symbolize abundance, prosperity and vigor.
Day 8: The Completion Day – People enjoy a family reunion dinner and pray to the Jade Emperor.
Day 9: Birthday of Jade Emperor
Day 10: Feasting with friends and family
Day 11: Feasting with friends and family
Day 12: Feasting with friends and family
Day 13: Eat vegetarian foods such as rich and mustard greens to cleanse the digestive tract.
Day 14: The Lantern Decoration Day – Prepare for the lantern festival
Day 15: Lantern Festival – Lanterns are carried during lantern fairs and children carrying lanterns to temples. The festival is associated with guiding lost spirits home and strengthening relationships between people, families and nature. Sweet dumplings called yuanxiao. Reunion dinners are held with the lanterns and oranges being a large part of it.
The staff at 1st Chinese Herbs wishes everyone a very prosperous and happy Year of the Rat!