And the cycle begins again as the Rat is the first of the Chinese Zodiac animals (1). The legend goes that the Jade Emperor said that first twelve animals that arrived at his party would be part of the calendar. The rat was only first because it tricked the ox in carrying him on his back and just as they reached the finish line, the rat jumped off and became first. That goes with rats being known as being smart or sneaky.
Ever wondered why there isn’t a cat in the zodiac? They say the cat and rat were friends and the cat asked the rat to wake her up to go to the party together. The rat didn’t and snuck off himself. Ever since, they are enemies which is why every time a cat sees a rat, it chases it.
The Chinese New Year is full of legends and traditions. As a child, I loved Chinese New Year as it meant getting “lucky money” – money in red envelopes. Other traditions on the first day are staying positive as you want it to be like that for the rest of the year or not sweeping the floor so you don’t sweep away your luck. There’s a traditional food and it’s a time to be with family.
So if you see anyone Chinese, you can say Happy New Year
“Kung Hei Fat Choy” (Cantonese)
“Xin Nin Kwai Le” (Mandarin)