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Chinese New Year: What The Year Of The Rat Means For You (And Your House)

A rat isn’t most people’s animal of choice, but according to Chinese Astrology, being born in the year of the rodent isn't such a bad thing.

More than one billion Chinese nationals are gearing up to celebrate the 2020 Lunar New Year on Saturday, with this year marking the Year of the Rat  -- as does every 12 years.

The rat is the first zodiac sign in the cycle -- followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig -- meaning it symbolises a time for new beginnings and opportunities.

2020 marks the year of the rat and signifies new beginnings. Image: Getty

This year is particularly special because it also signifies the start of a new decade. However, this isn't just the year of the rat, it is actually the year of the 'metal rat' when considering the five elements of Chinese philosophy -- wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.

What The 'Metal Rat' Means

Feng Shui master and Chinese astrology expert Edgar Lok Tin Yung told 10 daily since metal creates water we could experience a wetter year -- particularly for those living in the northern hemisphere -- because according to Chinese astrology, the rat faces north.

Unfortunately that means the rain isn't heading to Australia.

Lok Tin Yung said due to its north-facing direction, the places expected to experience wetter conditions are the likes of Russia or the North Pole.

Celebrating early, lion dancers perform during the Georges River Lunar New Year Festival in Hurstville, Sydney on Saturday January 18. Image: AAP

"There will be slightly more water in terms of the weather during this cycle, but this could be too much. It could be unbalanced and uneven."

While Russia is getting rained on, the rest of the world could experience more harmony this year.

He said often we see conflict between the elements but the good news is he anticipates the opposite in 2020.

"This year it will be a better year in terms of harmony," he said.

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"(Due to the high levels of water) people at the highest level will likely look after people at the bottom. The government will look after its citizens and companies will look after employees," he explained.

The Good And The Bad Of Being A Rat

People born into the year of the rat are traditionally intelligent, flexible and quick, according to Lok Tin Yung, but like all zodiacs, it comes with its weaknesses.

The rat can be too quick and act without thinking.

So you might want to weigh up the pros and cons before making a big decision.

Edgar Lok Tin Yung is a leading Feng Shui and Chinese Astrology consultant based in Melbourne, Australia. Image: Facebook

In terms of looking after the health side of things, he said people born during the year of the rat should focus on any elements within the body that involve water.

"They need to look after water areas such as the kidneys and the urinary system. For females that will also be the reproductive system and for men that will be the prostate."

World Square cultural expert Claudia Chan Shaw also weighed in. She said rats would have to work hard this year to keep up their run of luck.

"It will be a year will be full of ups and downs," she said.

Artists from China perform at a previous Chinese Lunar New Year or Spring Festival in Melbourne. Image: AAP

To overcome this, rats can wear red each day because it is an "auspicious and popular colour" symbolising happiness, success and good fortune, she explained.

"This could be red underpants. Or a red bracelet."

How To Feng Shui Your Home For the Year Of The Rat

Lok Tin Feng said the energy distribution will come from the rat.

He explained that homeowners in north-facing properties are advised not to begin any renovations in fear they might "disturb bad energy".

The same risk applies to most south-facing and easterly homes.

People with homes facing west will have more luck this year. Image: Getty

"It is better to keep quiet. Do not slam the door either because the vibration will activate negative energy."

The good news is, if your house is facing west you're in for a good year.

"People with west-facing houses will be getting some good energy, and (the same goes for those) facing northwest too," Lok Tin Yung said.

And if your front door is west facing you're in even more luck.

"(Those people) will experience some happiness, like a newborn child or someone getting married."

To back up these claims Lok Tin Yung was quick to explain the form of Feng Sui he practiced is a natural science and not a blind belief.

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"Traditional Feng sui is about direction, position and energy activation, not like new-age Feng Sui where you buy a wind charm and put some coins in it," he joked.

Lots of people think it's nonsense because they haven’t experienced traditional Feng Sui.

Astrology and Feng Sui means combining space and time together, meaning certain configurations can, for example, help get us a promotion, according to Lok Tin Yung.

How Chinese-Australians Will Be Celebrating

On Saturday the nation's capital cities are expected to be blanketed in red and gold to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The streets, laneways, and squares of Haymarket and Darling Harbour in Sydney will be transformed with free performances, markets and carnival rides.

Festival curator and artist Valerie Khoo said this year’s celebrations will feature more than 100 events across Sydney, including the Lunar lanterns exhibition.

In Melbourne, celebrations will begin with a midnight countdown tonight (Friday, January 24). This will be followed by a full-day event on Lunar New Year Day featuring the city's Dai Loong (big dragon) parade.

Adelaide will be celebrating with a street party, as will Perth which will also mark the date with a dragon boat race on the Marina. Similarly, in Hobart, festivities will play host to a range of cultural activities, food stalls, and performances.