Printable Coloring Pages for the Chinese Zodiac: Year of the Rat

Updated on July 15, 2019
Adele Jeunette profile image

Adele has been a youth services librarian for 25 years. She has been a mother to a daughter from China for 20 years.

Printable Coloring Sheets for Year of Rat
Printable Coloring Sheets for Year of Rat

The Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac

The rat is the 1st animal in the Chinese Zodiac, an every 12th Chinese new year heralds the start of another year named for this clever animal. People born in the year of the rat are thought to be generous witty, alert, and flexible. On the other hand, they are also thought to be a bit stubborn and picky.

Celebrate the Year of the Rat With These Educational Coloring Sheets

I’ve designed all these printable year of the rat coloring sheets for young children including preschoolers, kindergartners, and elementary school kids.

Some of the rat images are my own designs while others are sourced from Pixabay or purchased under license from istock.com. You are allowed to print them for personal, classroom, or library use, but not for commercial use.

The Chinese character you see in the lanterns in the pictures is the character for "rat."

The Chinese phrases say "Happy New Year!" You will see the phrase spelled out in pinyin—a system which uses english letters to indicate how the words are pronounced—and then repeated using Chinese characters.

How Can I Print These Coloring Pages?

These coloring pages are all sized for paper that is 8.5" X 11". At the end of each section, you will see an orange link to a pdf document which includes the templates for all the sheets pictured in that section. The link has all the documents that are in landscape orientation, and the second has similar designs in portrait orientation. If you want to print only one page of the templates, be sure to select that page specifically in your printing menu.

Year of the Rat Coloring Sheets: Landscape Orientation

The first 8 coloring sheets are in landscape orientation.

Previews of the pages can be seen in the the photos below.

If you need portrait orientation coloring pages, you’ll want to scroll down to the next link.

Landscape Orientation Coloring Pages

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the RatPrintable Coloring Sheet for Year of the RatPrintable Coloring Sheet for Year of the RatPrintable Coloring Sheet for Year of the RatPrintable Coloring Sheet for Year of the RatPrintable Coloring Sheet for Year of the RatPrintable Coloring Sheet for Year of the RatPrintable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat
Printable Coloring Sheet for Year of the Rat

Year of the Rat Coloring Sheets: Portrait Orientation

These next 8 coloring sheets are in portrait orientation.

Previews of the pages can be seen in the the photos below.

If you need landscape orientation coloring pages, you’ll want to scroll up to the previous link.

Portrait Orientation Coloring Pages

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Coloring Page - Year of the RatColoring Page - Year of the RatColoring Page - Year of the RatColoring Page - Year of the RatColoring Page - Year of the RatColoring Page - Year of the RatColoring Page - Year of the RatColoring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat
Coloring Page - Year of the Rat

Additional Facts About the Year of the Rat

  • Generally, the years designated as years of the rat include 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032. These years are calculated according to a lunar calendar, and the the date of the new year's beginning changes each year. For instance, a baby born in 2020 but before January 25th is still considered as being born in the previous zodiac year, the Year of the Pig.
  • The recommended occupations for rats are artist, author, teacher and doctor.
  • In addition to celebrating the animals of the zodiac in a 12-year cycle, the Chinese also recognize 5 different sets of cycles: wood, fire, earth, gold, and water. 2020, for instance, is the year of the metal rat. Metal rats are especially persuasive and sensitive according to traditional Chinese Lore

A Rat's Tale

In some cultures, rats are looked down upon, but the Chinese zodiac puts them first because they are so resourceful and clever. A common folktale tells the story of how the years came to be named. The emperor of heaven decided to have a race between the animals. They had to line up on one side of the river and cross it to the get to the finish line.

The ox was the best swimmer, and it looked likely to win until the rat—who had been hitching a ride between the ox’s horns—scampered onto the bank and across the finish line first.

In some cultures we would interpret the rat’s actions as cheating, but in the story, the rat is complimented for being clever and figuring out the quickest way to get to the finish line.

Famous People Born in the Year of the Rat

George Washington

John F. Kennedy

Wolfgang Mozart

William Shakespeare

Prince Charles

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Adele Jeunette

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