This Saturday 25th January ushers in a new Chinese lunar year. 2020 is the year of the Rat, the beginning of a new astrological cycle in Chinese culture and it is the beginning of a new decade. With so many new beginnings, it stands to reason that 2020 has got some big things in store – both globally and for many people personally. Lillian Bridges of the Lotus Institute does an annual forecast for the Chinese New Year ahead – it’s pretty heavy going but I’ve distilled it down for you so that you can be ready to take advantage of all that the Year of the Rat has to offer. But first – what is Chinese New Year?
What is Chinese New Year?
Chinese New Year is a Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. This means that there is no set date for the new year, it could be any time in January or February, depending on when the new moon is – this year, it is on Saturday 25th January. In the traditional Chinese calendar, each lunar year is represented by an animal, there are 12 animals in all and every 12 years represents a micro cycle, with every 60 years being considered a change of the times.
The beginning of Chinese New Year is all about coming home to your family – it triggers a mass migration in China every year. It is a time when everything is decorated red, and the most firecrackers in the world are set off on that night! There is a myth about a monster named Nian who would come around on New Year’s Eve. He was so scary that everyone would hide in their homes, but one brave boy fought him off with firecrackers, and so the next day everyone celebrated their survival by setting off firecrackers – which then became an integral part of the new year celebration.
Chinese New Year period ends with the Lantern Festival which takes place on the first full moon after new year. If Chinese New Year is all about tradition and coming home to be with family, the Lantern Festival is all about partying and letting loose.
What could happen in 2020, the year of the Rat?
2020 is a dynamic year according to the Chinese calendar. Not only is it the first year of a 12 year cycle, but the beginning of a new 60 year period (and, a new decade on our own calendar). This means that there are so many new possibilities and new beginnings. This is the year to say yes to new ideas, new plans, a good year for reinventions and starting over.
Attached to each animal and each year is either Yin or Yang, plus whether it is Water, Metal, Earth, Fire or Wood. This year is the Year of Yang Water with Yang Metal on top. These details may seem confusing, but they are important in understanding the winds of change that the Chinese calendar may bring.
Yang metal represents the sword and military might. Lillan Bridges interprets this to mean a possible gathering of troops or movement of troops to new places as seeds of conflict may be sown in the coming year. On the flipside, globally there could be a large shift as new ideas create new beginnings. There is a Chinese saying that “all rivers will become one ocean” and this could be seen as political stages crumbling as political rivers begin to become one ocean and people come together under new leaders.
The Yang concept is large, expansive – and so there is consideration to large bodies of water such as seas, oceans, rivers and large lakes in the Yang Water year. This means that large bodies of water will have much power this year and we could expect to see flooding events and even large storms dumping lots of water. Major rivers may overflow and we can expect some bigger storms than usual in autumn.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom – this is also the year of Peach Blossom Luck in Chinese culture, which means that there is much charisma and charm this year – a sense of youthfulness and “joie de vivre” – a sense of good living. Peach blossoms, like cherry blossoms, symbolise renewal after a long winter. You can expect a lightness and some fun this year.
What does the year of the Rat mean for everyone?
This year is the year of the water Rat, so let’s look at both of those things separately and then in combination.
The best water is clear, and so the year of the water Rat will want clarity. Sometimes this can mean dredging your murky waters in search of the truth, so you may see past secrets and misunderstandings come to light so that they can be processed out of your life. Another way to consider water is that it provides clarity – so you will come to have clarity around your situation and obtain understanding about your past.
The beginning of the 60-year cycle starts with Yang Metal which is this year. In Chinese medicine, Metal pertains to the Lungs, which help us with immunity, and to strength, and so this year we can expect to have better immunity or to recover quicker if illness strikes. Because this is a water year though, people prone to water retention and chest infections should take care to keep warm in colder months. Remember to warm the body through hot foot-soaks, taking hot teas and broths and remembering to rug up.
As this is also a Yang year – expansive, outwards – and a Water year, it is good to swim. Especially in large bodies of water, but any swimming is good! The energy of a Yang year encourages exercise and this is a good time to begin exercising if you don’t already.
Water is also very willful, it will carve it’s way through rock. Be careful to check yourself before you wreck yourself this year! If you are feeling ambitious remember to be careful not to be wreckless, remain rational.
So what does the year of the Rat mean for me?
Every animal will experience each year differently. As such, things will be different for Tiger people, Oxs and Horses. You can check here for which sign you are (be careful you choose the right animal year if your birthday is in January or February) – but here are Lillian’s interpretations for individuals in the year to come:
Ox – Earth Element: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009 and 2021
This is a lucky year, especially for making a return on previous investments of all kinds. Health problems clear up and there is renewed energy and motivation. Oxes will be feeling much more optimistic.
Tiger – Wood Element: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022 This is a year where there will be financial worries, but it is a very good year for socializing. Tigers have a chance of becoming known for their special talents and this will lead to future rewards.
Rabbit – Wood Element: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011,2023 This is not an easy year for Rabbits as they will feel more tired than usual and will need to take good care of their health. There will be more unexpected expenses, but this is a good year for investing.
Dragon – Earth Element: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024 This is an outstanding year with lots of opportunity available. Dragons will feel healthier and more energized. They can accomplish a lot, especially with new ventures in business and there is luck in romance.
Snake – Fire Element: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025 This is a stable and calm year for Snakes. Progress can be made in business and finance and debts can be cleared or lessened. It is a good year for making plans and preparing for the future.
Horse – Fire Element: 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026 This is a somewhat difficult year for Horses, as there will be extra expenses and they will feel less energetic than usual. They will find themselves feeling a bit more short tempered and need to think before they speak.
Sheep – Earth Element: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027 This is supposed to be a restful year for Sheep and they need to spend time recuperating and recharging. However, there will be steady progress in business and making money and relationships are harmonious.
Monkey – Metal Element:1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028 This is an excellent year for Monkeys. They will be more creative and inventive. Business will expand, along with income; relationships are happy; and they will feel healthy and energetic.
Rooster – Metal Element: 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981,1993, 2005, 2017, 2029 Roosters will want to retreat this year, as the energies will feel chaotic to them. They will be more reserved emotionally, but they will be more creative. There may be some hidden or surprising expenses.
Dog – Earth Element: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030 This is an exciting year for Dogs and they will need to remember to rest. They will want to expand their business and will talk more about their dreams, but need to take things slower than they want to go.
Pig – Water Element: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031 This is a somewhat uncomfortable year for Pigs, as they will experience more change than they like. But it is a good chance for them to re-organize, rediscover and restart things, if they can overcome their resistance.
That’s a wrap
2020 is set to be a pretty dynamic year for most everyone. With the ushering in of the Water Rat year on the 25th January there are new beginnings and opportunities, good health to be had and fun times to be made. It is a social and expansive year to come, and a good time to say “yes”.
Although there are some storm clouds on the horizon (literally) and some possible unease around conflict, 2020 looks to be a great year for starting over.
“Gong xi fa cai” or, congratulations on the fortune – here’s to you in 2020, the year of the Rat.