Anthro Ticker

Year of the Sheep

Anthropology Now

Read a fascinating Washington Post article this morning called “Chinese couples rush to get pregnant before dreaded Year of the Sheep.” In summary, many Chinese couples are feverishly trying to conceive and have children in 2014 – the Year of the Horse, following the Chinese lunar calendar – rather than 2015, the inauspicious Year of the Sheep. (Incidentally, 2015 is also the year I turn 40. 1975 was a Year of the Rabbit). Believers in the Chinese zodiac associate Sheep with following, rather than leading, bad luck in business, unhappy marriages…bad stuff. Little wonder some seek to avoid that fate for their children!

For me, the most interesting aspect of the article is the power that cultural traditions can have on reproductive (biological) decisions. Among other things, this suggests some possibilities for limiting overpopulation – more voluntary, and less draconian, than China’s “one child” policy. Presumably, if…

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