Happy Chinese New Year! This is a postcard that was sent to me very locally in Pennsylvania! As many of you know, 2020 is the Year of the Rat. That might at first sound like an unsophisticated choice of zodiac – people may often associate rats with dirtiness and bearing the black plague. On the contrary, in Chinese culture they are a sign of wealth and vitality! Because of their high reproductive capacity and fertility, some married couples also used to pray to them for children. Rats can produce up to roughly 3,500 offspring in the course of only three years, though… so if you do pray, pray sparingly. Some of the personality traits associated with the rat include clever, successful, sensitive to others, and energetic. I guess being a rat baby ain’t so bad after all. That statement sounds weird in retrospect. An interesting story for you: there’s a tale about how the zodiac animals came to be in the order that they’re in. It’s said that the Jade Emperor would decide the order based on a race among the animals to his party. So, clever Mr. Rat managed to get a ride with the ox, who didn’t mind the little hitchhiker. As the ox was about to cross the finish line, the rat jumped off him and took the lead, ending up in first place! That’s why the rat is the first of the 12 zodiac animals. Apparently, the cat was supposed to be among them too. The story behind that is… the cat ordered the rat to wake him up at the start of the race. The rat agreed to do so… and then didn’t. The cat overslept and missed the race completely. You can imagine the magnitude of that grudge… one that’s lasted to modern day in cats all around! Anyway, I adore this card! Thank you so much for sharing these New Year’s wishes with me, Irma!
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