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2020- the Year of the Rat

The Chinese Zodiac

While many will be aware of the traditional Western horoscopes that stretch across the 12 months of the year, some may not be so familiar with the Chinese tradition of the 12 zodiac signs that represent an entire year.

The Chinese zodiac is a cycle of 12 years. These zodiac signs are each represented by a different animal: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

The zodiac is an important part of the Chinese culture and depending on which animal represents you, influences your fortune for the year, marriage compatibility, career success and more.

The zodiac system has been in place in China since the Qin dynasty which was more than 2,000 years ago. Throughout the years, the zodiacs took on more characteristics and meaning, with each animal now being clearly defined in its compatibilities and incompatibilities.

Chinese mythology dictates the story of a great race, that determined which animals made it into the zodiac and in which order.

Lu Ban Restaurant Chinese zodiac animals
Lu Ban Restaurant Chinese New Year Ox Rat and Cat in Jade Emperor zodiac story

One legend says that the Jade Emperor hosted a race in order to choose his 12 palace guards. To finish the race the animals had to cross a river, which was testing for the smaller of the animals.

The cat and the rat were the best of friends and decided to hatch a plan whereby they would jump on the Ox’s back to ride across together; they knew the Ox had the strength and experience to cross the river quickly.

The race started and the cat and the rat jumped on the Ox’s back as planned, and the Ox was oblivious to their actions. However, what started out as a plan between two friends quickly backfired when the rat jolted forward suddenly knocking the cat off the back of the Ox.

As the Ox approached the finish line, the Rat in his cunning way leapt from the Ox’s back and crossed the finish-line first. The other animals followed and those who placed in the top 3 were the Rat, the Ox and the Tiger.

The Rat is therefore the first sign of the Zodiac and 2020 happens to be the year of the Rat.

Those born in this year are thought to be very good with managing their money and never seem to have problems when it comes to saving. Look out for anyone you know born in the year of the Rat as they may be giving you a valuable gift as those they consider to be friends are thought of highly in their social circle.

Rats are best matched with those born in the year of the Ox but tend to stay away from those born in the year of the Horse. They are very astute and will know when there is trouble brewing; they take risks but they are calculated, usually resulting in major success.

In Chinese culture the Rat is linked with the Earth and new beginnings. Not only a sign of wealth but also a sign of prosperity. The habit of Rats to collect and reproduce quickly is indicative of their success.

The year of the Rat is sure to bring a happy and content life!

Chinese culture is at the core of  Lu Ban Restaurant. Our authentic Chinese cuisine is inspired by the people, flavours and customs of the Tianjin region of north eastern China where people eat food according to the season, together with fresh and local produce from Liverpool and the north west of England.

And as food is the basis of Chinese culture, every dish has an associated story, tradition or legend. Lu Ban Restaurant isn’t your average ‘westernised’ variation of Chinese food. Our cuisine, dining style and service is based on our experiences and research in Tianjin, and developed in collaboration with Chinese master chefs at the Tianjin School of Cuisine.

At Lu Ban Restaurant, Liverpool, we will be celebrating Chinese New Year 2020 with fabulously authentic Chinese New Year lunch and dinner menus. View them here: Chinese New Year Lunch menu and Chinese New Year dinner menu  and make your reservation now.

Scallop at Lu Ban Restaurant
Hotel Geneva Tofu at Lu Ban Restaurant
Master Yu's Five Flavour Cucumber at Lu Ban Restaurant
Wok Smoked Chicken at Lu Ban Restaurant


Lu Ban Restaurant is located in Cains Brewery Village, in the former site of the Red Brick Market in the heart of Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle area.

Lu Ban Restaurant
Cains Brewery Village
Stanhope Street
Liverpool L8 5XJ

0151 315 8888

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