According to a Jakarta Post article "people born in the Year of the Rat are respected, courageous, charming, admirable and enterprising people who are able to steer clear of financial troubles.
There are five types of rats named after each of the five elements; metal, water, wood, fire and earth.
The year 2008 is a Wu Zi year: Wu is earth and Zi is water. Consequently, symbols of earth and water will be prominent this year."
The WeMoon Calendar tells us to "Expect a powerful year when people are firm about their goals, passions, and aspirations."
Let's honor the clever Rat this year: Adapt, stay curious, cooperate, and thrive. Avoid traps that have caught us in the past, and don't forget to have some fun.
Gung Hay Fat Choi! to all here.
Art: I found this 1995 Year of the Rat stamp image at a blog titled Ponderings Over The Pond. It dates from an earlier year of the Rat, one I found to be a very good year :-) My thanks to POTP for the image.
Year of the Rat 2008: Some lovely Year of the Rat on-line greeting cards and prints in the style of Chinese brush paintings. The site contains lots of information on this Chinese Zodiac sign.
Rat Web Sites
The Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is one of the biggest and more elaborate parades in the world. Take a look behind the scenes, courtesy of SF Gate.
Those who work in a western tradition, might enjoy Owl Daughter's post on the New Moon in Aquarius
As Wikipedia notes:
The lunisolar Chinese calendar determines Chinese New Year dates. The calendar is also used in countries that have adopted or have been influenced by Han culture (notably the Koreans, Japanese and Vietnamese) and may have a common ancestry with the similar New Years festivals outside East Asia (such as Iran, and historically, the Bulgars lands).
Chinese New Year starts on the first day of the new year containing a new moon (some sources include New Year's Eve) and ends on the Lantern Festival fourteen days later. This occurs around the time of the full moon as each lunation is about 29.53 days in duration. In the Gregorian calendar, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year, a date between January 21 and February 20. This means that the holiday usually falls on the second (very rarely third) new moon after the winter solstice. In traditional Chinese Culture, lichun is a solar term marking the start of spring, which occurs about February 4.