The Year of Metal Rat officially kicks off on 25 January. Metal Rat comes from the main zodiac element for 2020, which is metal and the animal sign Rat. The Rat is the first of the 12 animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac, which makes 2020 the start of a new cycle, a year of new beginnings and renewals.
What does the year of the Metal Rat mean? The year of the Metal Rat is predicted to be a lucky year. In Chinese culture, rats are symbols of wealth and surplus because of their high survival and reproductive rates. Legend has it that the rat jumped onto the back of the ox to get to the head of the queue when animals were being named, which demonstrates intelligence and alertness.
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Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, is the biggest holiday in Mainland China. Preparations start weeks before the celebration. People give their house a thorough cleaning to chase away bad luck. Doors and windows are repainted, usually in red and the whole house is decorated with red lanterns, couplets, paper cuttings, strips with different wishes of happiness, prosperity and long life, and other symbols of luck and happiness.
Chinese New Year is a family affair. Family members, including those who live far away, return to their home for the holiday to reunite with their loved ones. The family celebration on New Year’s Eve is known as the “surrounding the stove” or weilu. This comprises of the reunion dinner which is believed to be the most important meal of the year. The dinner unites the living to their departed relatives. It is an opportunity for family members to remember and celebrate the ancestors who laid the foundation for the family’s fortune.
Special dishes are prepared to bring good luck for the new year. While different parts of China have different styles for preparing food, the most common celebration dishes are:
• Fish served whole to represent togetherness and prosperity
• Dumplings made to look like Chinese silver ingots to represent wealth
• Chicken served with the head and feet intact to represent family togetherness
• Spring rolls to attract good fortune for the coming year
• Noodles that are uncut to represent happiness and longevity
• Glutinous rice cake, which are initially reserved for high deities and ancestors, to attract higher income or position
• Sweet rice balls to represent family togetherness
• Fruits that are round and “golden” in colour such as tangerines and oranges to symbolise fullness and wealth
The most famous New Year custom is for married couples to give lucky money called ‘lay-see’ to unmarried relatives, especially children. ‘Lay-see’ is a red envelope containing lucky money which people believe will bring luck to both the receiver and giver.
Firecrackers are a big part of the celebration. People stay up on Chinese New Year’s Eve so they can set off firecrackers at midnight and scare off monsters and bad luck. In the morning, more firecrackers are set off to welcome the new year and bring good luck.
The Year of the Metal Rat 2020 is expected to bring new opportunities, changes and new beginnings that can push us out of our comfort zones. Getting insight and guidance from our trusted psychics and clairvoyants can help you get a glimpse of the year ahead so you can start your journey with clarity and attract more luck in our life. Have a psychic reading with our intuitive psychics today, call us on 01223 800 616.