The Year of RAT

Once again, followed by the Solar Calendar New Year, here we are for the Lunar New Year (often known as Chinese New Year)! 2020 will be a year of RAT.

As you may know already, unlike a lot local festivities, which often having fixed dates, Chinese New Year varies each year, because it marks the start of the lunar year whereas here we use the 'Gregorian' (Solar) calendar. In 2020, Chinese New Year takes place on Saturday 25 Jan 2020, with celebration start on the eve – Friday 24 Jan 2020 across the globe, followed by a 7-day bank holidays in China. This is the biggest festival in China, as well as a lot other Asian Countries like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysian, etc. Similar to Christmas just gone by, this is the best time for family re-union.

This will be a great time to have a taste of Chinese culture with your friends and family by personally attending various events and activities in the UK, e.g. Manchester, London and Edinburgh.

Chinese New Year is a festival celebrating Chinese cultures, traditions, foods and communities. Manchester holds one of the biggest celebrations in the country, with a four-day event including a city centre parade, street food and art exhibitions. The city also comes to life with hundreds of red lanterns hanging in key areas such as St Ann's Square, Market Street and Albert Square.

What animal is 2020?

The Lunar year of RAT (鼠shǔ).

In Chinese astrology, there are 12 zodiac animals, each representing a year. The lunar calendar paved the sequence of these animals and runs in a 12-year-cycle. Twelve animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. Each one has its own characteristics just like the zodiac signs.

You may ask how the order of zodiac animals originated?

Myth says, it is all about an animal race hold by the Jade Emperor (Emperor of Heaven in Chinese culture) long, long ago… The earlier the animal went through the Heavenly Gate, the better the rank one would have. Now you may guess who the winner is – the answer is, of course, the “RAT”! Well, there is a very interesting tale, as Ox was actually supposed to be the first. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first.

Personality and Characteristics

In Chinese culture, Rats are clever, optimistic, energetic and quick thinkers, people born in the Rat year are likable by all. Recent years of Rats are: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, and 2020.

How to celebrate?

Chinese families gather together for a reunion dinner on New Year's Eve and clean their houses to sweep away bad fortune on New Year's Day. Traditionally, kids would be given red envelopes stuffed with 'lucky money' and positive wishes on New Year's Day.

Featuring: thousands of red lanterns around market streets, food, fireworks, a funfair and the legendary Dragon Parade, plus traditional lion dancing, martial arts and crafts, red envelope giveaways and VIP shopping events.

With the development of modern smart phone apps, more and more people transfer/receive red envelopes digitally via WeChat or Alipay. It also created a new way of “enhancing” the relationship of a group of people (can be friends or family members at anywhere across the world) of “snatch a digital red envelope” on WeChat. For a Random Amount type of envelope, some members may snatch up to £20 but some may end up with only 1p… It is all about the speed (of Wi-fi) and luck!!

Things to do & see in Manchester

Celebrate Chinese New Year with a weekend packed full of fun and fortune on Friday 24 Jan to Sunday 26 Jan 2020 around China Town, Albert Square and St Ann’s Square. Details please see here.