It is the first of the year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. Rat is associated with aggression, wealth, charm, and order, yet also associated with death, war, the occult, pestilence, and atrocities.
For examples of this view, check out our posts, entitled, China Cultural Awareness:
Chinese New Year is coming up on January 28 but have you ever wondered what you should say to your friends to wish them a happy new year? You can also use a shorted version, which is xin nian new year hao good , which is pronounced shin nee-an how.