2020: The Year of the Rat


2020 is the Year of the Rat for the Chinese zodiac.

Sierra Hoeger

2020 brings with it the renewal of the Chinese New Year cycle, beginning again with the Year of the Rat. 

The rat symbolizes the beginning of a new day and the potential for wealth. Individuals born in the Year of the Rat tend to have success within their career and inhibit the dedication to perform well academically and excel within their career. 

However, when it comes to their health status and love life, individuals will face some hardships. Avoiding an intimate relationship this year is the advice given by chinesenewyear.net, the official guide to all things relating to the holiday. In terms of health, individuals born in the Year of the Rat are quick to catch a cold, but it never seems to worsen further than that. 

“It means new beginnings; for me, it’s a new beginning,” said Wen Jiang, a senior studying accounting. Jiang is also co-president of the Chinese Language Club at Iowa State. 

The Chinese language is offered as a minor on campus under the World Languages and Cultures sections at Iowa State. The Chinese Language Club has a mission to help better students’ understanding of the language and culture. 

Traditionally, celebrating the Chinese New Year includes making dumplings and enjoying fireworks. While members of the Chinese Language Club are unable to set off fireworks, they do have plans to make dumplings and ring in the new year. 

The significance behind the dumplings is a way to wrap up the old year and bring in the new with the wrapping of the dough. By eating the dumplings around midnight, you are sending away the previous year. 

“It’s kind of tricky here because of the time zones, so we’re going to make the dumplings and have several other meals,’’ Jiang said. That way, the dumplings are ready to enjoy at midnight, and members have other options while waiting for the clock to strike midnight. 

Family bonding is important during the new year, and dumplings require all hands on deck, making them the perfect meal to accommodate many. 

“I feel like it gives me the opportunity to contact my family because we don’t really contact each other, so that’s important,” Jiang said. Jiang’s family lives in China, making the Chinese New Year the perfect time to talk to them. 

China is 13 hours ahead of Ames, Iowa, meaning members would eat their dumplings and celebrate around 10 a.m. last Saturday. 

In China, celebrations begin a week before Jan. 25th and conclude in early February. 

The order of the animals stems from a traditional folk tale, which said that the Emperor had decided the order of the animals based on a race. The rat was first, due to its sly and cunning personality. Coming in last was the pig. 

“We forget about other festivals, but at this time all the people celebrate and we don’t work,” Jiang said, further emphasizing how big of a deal the Chinese New Year is. Twenty members from the Chinese Language Club were expected to participate in activities, which included hanging out and cooking dishes, watching TV shows and performing traditional dances typically done at the festivals.