Years of the Rat – 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996
East and West can differ enormously in their interpretation of some symbols and the rat is an excellent example of that type of divergence. In cultures of the West, rats (and generally also mice) are infernal, nocturnal, and even frightening vermin. In the East, they are the companions of the gods.
For example, in Japan, a rat accompanies Daikoku, the god of wealth, where the rat symbolizes fertility and productivity and, as a consequence, also wealth and plenty. In India, Ganesha (the elephant-headed god) sometimes rides or is attended by a mouse.
In the Chinese zodiac, people who are born in the Year of the Rat are, not surprisingly, considered ambitious and charismatic but also intelligent and generous (to family and friends.) They may tend toward hoarding resources but they are also considered fair in their dealings and expect the same in return. In fact, they can become deeply insulted if they feel their trust has been abused. People born in the Year of the Rat can sometimes set their sights too high, in terms of relationships and careers, but can become more realistic as the years pass. In fact, in middle age, these people may find that they have achieved their life goals — if all has gone smoothly.