Based on a twelve-year cycle, the Chinese zodiac (生肖 shēngxiào) is associated with 12 animal signs. The 12 animal signs are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.
Similar to western horoscopes, many people believe the Chinese animal signs influence personal characters and decisions.
2020 is the Year of the Rat (鼠 Shǔ) starting from January 25, 2020 (Spring Festival) and lasting to February 11, 2021. Chinese New Year in 2021 will mark the start of the Year of Ox (牛 Niú).
Occupying the first position in the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals, Rat (鼠 Shǔ) is a smart animal representing intelligence, intuition and curiosity. People born in the Year of the Rat are considered smart, frank, intuitive and agile.
How was the order of Chinese Zodiac decided? In Chinese legend, the Jade Emperor (Emperor of the Heaven) ordered a race to decide the zodiac places. The race was intense and full of excitement. The last obstacle was a wide river. The Ox kindly offered the Rat a ride on its back, but the Rat cheekily stole the first prize in the end by jumping across the finishing line from Ox’s back. The Cat did not make the race at all as the Rat did not tell the Cat about the race. Since then, Cat and Rat are no longer friends and Cat has been chasing Rat ever since.
(Chinese Zodiac image by Rosemania – www.flickr.com/photos/rosemania/4530709288, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10571168)