The Chinese Year of the Rat is the first of a twelve year cycle of the Chinese calendar and to commemorate this the Royal Australian Mint issued this stunning edition. The Chinese Zodiac is composed of 12 animals arranged in order from the rat through to the pig. The order was established by a race between the animals, thousands of years ago orchestrated by the Jade Emperor of China. Chinese astrology and the Chinese zodiac are commemorated by The Australian Lunar Coin sequence. The 12-year sequence features coin releases marking the Year of the Mouse, Year of the Ox, Year of the Tiger, Year of the Rabbit, Year of the Dragon, Year of the Snake, Year of the Horse, Year of the Goat, Year of the Monkey, Year of the Rooster, Year of the Dog and Year of the Pig.
The 2008 Chinese Year of the Rat began on the 7th February but the real Chinese year is 4706. It is normally the darkest day of the month that the Chinese year will start and Chinese people celebrate up until the brightest day of the month around two weeks later. Some famous people born in the rat year are William Shakespeare, Wolfgang Mozart and Prince Charles (Travel China Guide, 2014) . Since 1996, the Royal Australian Mint has been producing commemorative coins celebrating the famous Chinese Calendar with lunar designs. The designs of each animal varies year to year.
This 2008 Year of the Rat is the 1st year of the lunar series. The
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