2020 welcomes Year of the Rat


Canva designed by Sequoia Wilcox

2020 ushers in the Chinese zodiac Rat, which symbolizes intelligence and high vitality.

Every January the Chinese New Year celebrates the new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. This celebration begins with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and ends on the first full moon. This year ushers in the Year of the Rat.

The “Rat” symbolizes intelligence and high vitality– the first in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. Any child born this year aligns with the rat on the Chinese horoscope – specifically the metal rat personality type; known to turn unlucky circumstances into fortune. 

People typically celebrate Chinese New Year by decorating in red because it symbolizes happiness, wealth, and prosperity. Families also clean their houses from top to bottom in order to ward off misfortune and bring in good luck. Other activities include giving offerings to gods and gifting money in red envelopes.

“We give out red pockets,” said sophomore Victoria Lin. “We put money in them and give them to our family members and friends as a representation of good luck.”

Many families prepare food for the celebration; commonly served are dumplings, fish balls, and spring rolls. Certain foods symbolize aspects important to the new year; oranges and tangerines represent luck and wealth while chicken represents familial connections.

“We like to do hot pot which is like a broth, and you put different vegetables and meats inside,” said senior Cora Chen.

Though mostly observed publicly in Asian countries, over 2 million people celebrate this festival in some manner, even if just by national acknowledgement.

“Not a lot of people know about it unless they have a Chinese friend or Asian friend,” said Cora. “The culture is really cool. We do traditional stuff, and it’s different from regular new years in the United States.”