The year of the Sheep (also known as Goat or Ram) is fast approaching, and it maybe leading to a decline in pregnancies in China. Why? Apparently, superstitious Chinese parents-to-be consider the Sheep an unfortunate sign under which their child could be born.
There is a lot of folklore about the 12 Chinese Zodiac signs. The sign of Dragon is the most auspicious because he is the only mystical creature and can fly. Tigers and Horses are also thought to be lucky, but not the Sheep.
The Washington Post article notes, ‘Many patients have inquired about early delivery via Caesarean section to ensure a horse-year birth,’ said Li Jianjun, an obstetrician at Beijing’s United Family Hospital.”
CNN goes even further, “Zhang says she hadn’t heard of the superstition until recently but chooses to believe it nonetheless. She discovered her cousin was a Sheep and his parents got divorced, She says that she doesn’t really care what zodiac sign her baby is, ‘but it better not be sheep.’ ”
Many couples, like those interviewed by the Post, have rushed to give birth in the current Year of the Horse, thought to be a more auspicious sign, or put off pregnancy, like Zhang, according to media reports. The media in China has tried to debunk the myth with reports, but we don’t know how well that works against ingrained superstition.
There are certainly plenty of famous, successful people born in the Year of the Sheep including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Twain, Jay Chou and Zhang Ziyi.
So what do the Chinese have against Sheep? All of the Zodiac signs have both flaws and virtues. Sheep characteristics include loyalty, compassion, warmth, a loving nature, and adaptability. That sounds lovely to me. But, some of these same characteristics can be flaws. Sheep are considered meek, and the fear is that they will be passive followers and not leaders. Supposedly they are also destined for more misfortune than people born under other signs of the Zodiac.
That is a lot to put on this animal’s back or on a little baby! I believe our world could use more adaptable, kind souls. Perhaps more people will learn to lead with compassionate rather than aggression. The Sheep myth is one superstition I choose not to buy into, but it is interesting to learn the mythology of other cultures.
It also reminds me of the age old question…how much of our lives are fate and how much is within our control?
What do you think?