The Year of Pig on the Chinese lunar calendar is just around the corner. Tradition has it that it is lucky to give birth under this sign of the zodiac.
That explains the expected baby boom.
Many couples rushed to get married late last year in hopes of having a baby in this upcoming year.
Not just hospitals but businesses that manufacture and sell baby products are preparing for the one-year boom.
The lunar calendar has been rotating through the 12 zodiac signs designated for each year for the past 1,600 years. It also rotates through five elements gold, wood, water, fire and earth. The coming Year of the Pig coincides with the element of gold.
Although some experts contend the element should be earth rather than gold, many couples are more than willing to believe it will be the Year of the Golden Pig.
It might be because of its round body, associated with fullness and excellence, that the pig is considered a sign of good luck.
The fact that the pig is the last of the 12 zodiac animals also gives it the popular association of ultimate success.
People get satisfaction from these traditions. Yet, ironically, the result of all these golden babies will be anything but glowing. Instead of babies blessed with a carefree life, all these Year of the Pig babies will certainly result in a one-year birth peak, which will overwhelm not just hospitals but down the line the existing social resources such as education and employment.
The more severe competition for schools and jobs will be the price these parents will have to pay.
Why not learn the lesson of those children born in 2000 the Year of the Dragon who now have difficulty entering kindergarten?
A total of 62,300 children were born in 2000 in the city of Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province. This was an increase of more than 10,000 over 1999. The same was true of many cities nationwide.
The rush to have a lucky-year baby has exerted heavy pressure on both families and society.
In planning for their future child's success, couples need to look not just to a traditionally auspicious year.
(China Daily 02/05/2007 page4)