Even a rat has its day!
In South Korea, there are two New Year celebrations, the solar New Year and the lunar New Year (seollal). The solar New Year is celebrated on every 1 st of January. The lunar New Year rarely falls on the same day year, because it is calculated using the lunar calendar. The lunar New Year is the most important traditional festival in South Korea. This year the lunar New Year falls on the 25 of January. From the 25th of January the year of the white rat begins!
Sounds funny right?
According to the Chinese zodiac, there are twelve zodiac animals. These animals are in charge of guarding the earth. These animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. In this particular order, each zodiac animal's year comes around every 12 years, each year is associated with a zodiac animal.
Here is a short story of how the rat got itself a year.
Long long ago, the jade emperor wanted to select 12 animals to be his guard, he sent an immortal being into man's world to spread the message that 'the earlier one went through the heavenly gate, the better the rank one would be'.
The rat woke up very early in the morning and set off. After a while it got to a river, it couldn't cross the river so it waited a while. Then it saw the ox, it quickly jumped on the head of the ox. The gentle and kind-hearted ox didn't mind. When it got to the heavenly palace, the rat quickly jumped out to the feet of the jade emperor and thus became the first of the zodiac symbols. The ox became second.
Next was the tiger and the rabbit, who were both competitive and fast. The tiger was faster though, it came third and the rabbit came fourth. The dragon came fifth. When the jade emperor noticed how beautiful the dragon was, he wanted to make the dragon's son the sixth, but the son of the dragon did not come along. Just then the crafty snake dashed forward and said the dragon was its adoptive father and thus came sixth.
The kind-hearted horse and goat came seventh and eight and next was the jumping monkey who hopped from tree to tree until it got to the heavenly palace. The last animals were the rooster, dog and pig.
These 12 animals became the guards of the heavenly gate.
If the rat could make it why didn't the cat? Well, here's why the cat missed a spot in the zodiac.
The cat was apparently being a bully to the rat. A night before, the imposing cat meowed harshly at the rat “make sure you wake me up in the morning”. The scared rat promised to do so, but when morning came, the rat who wanted to be free from the cat sneaked away very early without the cat knowing. When the cat woke up it was already too late. This has caused the great enmity between the cat and the rat. (Lesson-don't be a bully!).
Every zodiac animal has personality traits associated with it. Korean people believe these traits will be embodied in people according to their zodiac sign. The Koreans believe that people who are born during these year usually have the characteristics of such animal. Some parents actually plan their child's birth base on the calendar.
The year of the white rat (2020)
If you were born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, this is your year. The year of the white rat! The rat is associated with the accumulation of material things. It is also considered a fast and clever animal. It is shrewd, intelligent and sometimes cute. A person born during the year of the rat is known to be quick-witted, resourceful, versatile and kind.
The rat also symbolizes vitality, the rat has strong reproductive system and survival rate. It can fall from the top of a building and still be safe. A rat can have 5000 babies in just one year and unless they are caught by cats or killed by you, they mostly die a natural death. (Those unmarried folks who love babies might want to hook up with people who were born in the year of the rat!)
Ever saw a rat in your dream? Well according to a Chinese emperor, this is what it means.
If you dream of a rat, there's a possibility that you could have loads of enemies
If a married woman dreams of house rats in her hands, it means she's going to have a baby
If you dream of pursuing a rat, you will make friends with dishonest folks (watch out).
If you dream of a cat catching a rat, it's a blessing because your enemies will end up killing themselves.
If you dream of many rats, you will continually fail.
If you dream about dead rats, you will be lucky.
If you dream about rats digging holes in your bedroom or about rats biting themselves, you can escape from disasters.
If a doctor dreams about a rat, he will find a communicable disease within his community.
Wishing you all a very happy lunar new year!
.... Me? I was born in the year of the snake but I promise I'm not crafty.