Expecting Chinese parents hope for babies before Year of Sheep (Goat) starts

Hospitals across China are struggling to cope with the high number of pregnant mothers eager to have their babies before the Year of Sheep begins on February 19, 2015, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Many people believe that among the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, the sheep brings bad luck. CCTV America’s Hu Chao reported this story from Taiyuan, in Northwest China’s Shanxi Province.

An old Chinese saying states that nine out of ten children born in the Year of the Sheep will have bad fortunes, and many people stand firmly behind this expression.

“There’s a lot of folklore saying people born in the Year of the Sheep will have bad luck. I think we should avoid having babies in this year as much as possible,” said a Taiyuan resident who did not give her name.

With just two months to go before the Year of the Sheep begins, hospitals in China are overcrowded as parents say they prefer having their babies in the current lunar Year of the Horse.

In an online survey conducted by People.cn, about 50 percent of participants said they have relatives or friends who are hoping not to have babies in a sheep year.

“People are still influenced by traditional beliefs… This is why we have a record number of pregnant women in our hospital,” said Pang Jiaying, chief physician at the Shanxi Coal Central Hospital.

Despite the influx at hospitals, others in China think the belief is pure superstition.

“This traditional mindset is understandable. But as science develops, we should stop thinking this way,” said another Taiyuan resident who did not give his name.

Experts said there is no evidence that one astrological sign is more fortunate than the other.

“The twelve Chinese zodiac signs are neither noble nor lowly. It makes no sense to say people born in the Year of the Sheep will have bad luck. The superstition started in the middle of the Qing Dynasty. It’s unscientific and we should abandon this belief.” Chang Sixin, chairman of the Shanxi Folk Literature and Art Society, said.

Many famous Chinese actors including Chen Daoming, Chow Yun-fat, and Zhang Ziyi are “sheep babies” who have been far from unlucky.

Some couples have even turned the belief on its end by saying babies born in the Year of the Sheep are actually lucky, arguing that fewer babies born in a sheep year mean less competition for sheep babies, which could lead to more educational opportunities and better jobs.

source : cctv-america.com