February 12, 2007

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The not-so-golden pig

As Chinese New Year approaches there are a growing number of articles highlighting an expected jump in births in China because it is a particularly auspicious year - year of the golden pig. While no one is denying it is year of the pig, it seems that just like Valentine's Day and Christmas it could well be that Chinese superstitions are being superceded by commercialism....the SCMP:

If you think the next lunar year is going to be an incredibly lucky one, think again; you may have fallen victim to commercial hype. It will not be the year of the golden pig, fortune tellers say. Rather, it is the fire pig which will rule our destinies in the coming 12 months.

So mothers who want their children born under a sign that supposedly brings wealth and good fortune will have to wait until 2031 for golden pig offspring. Veteran fung shui master Peter So Man-fung said the popular misconception that 2007 is a golden pig year may have come about because restaurants and shops often advertise each year as a "golden" one to help their business.

"This year is definitely the ding hai, the fire pig. The people who run restaurants like to say it's a golden year. Last year they said it was the golden dog, in 2005 they said it was the golden rooster," Mr So said.

But he said the Hospital Authority, whose director of professional services and operations, Allen Cheung Wai-lun, has also called 2007 a golden pig year, may not be entirely wrong in predicting 11 per cent more babies will be born in the next lunar year. "Last year was very lucky for marriage and there were a lot of weddings, so it's normal that the following year, there will be a lot of babies," Mr So said.

Another fung shui expert, Raymond Lo, agreed that commercial interests had likely been responsible for the year being mistaken for a golden pig year. And astrologer Jin Peh said: "I guess it sounds more attractive to say it's the golden pig. People are happier with the vision of the golden pig and it's certainly easier to sell a golden pig than a fire pig."

Mr Lo said: "The Chinese element for the year is the fire pig. It's fire over a water element, but I think probably because all Chinese usually use gold as something auspicious - it's a commercial thing. Shops like jewellery stores want to sell gold. "The last year of the golden pig was in 1971, and in 1911 before that, as it falls every 60 years," he said.

Mr Lo said women who fell pregnant thinking their children would be born in an auspicious year should not be disappointed. Their children may not be destined for great wealth, but under their astrological sign they will be protected by a nobleman who will help them through troubled times.

"All through their lives, they'll have someone to help and guide them through danger," he said, and noted that US President George W. Bush and thriller writer Steven King are both fire pigs.

Actually I quite like the idea of fire pigs...I can see them flying out of cannons with their tails aflame. Perhaps Chinese match makers (not matchmakers) need to increase their marketing budgets.

posted by Simon on 02.12.07 at 09:12 AM in the China category.


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My brother is a golden pig. Born in 1971. Next golden pig year is 2031. Gold is signified by metal, as in the very famous year 2000 - Year of the Golden (metal) Dragon. It's a big scam to say fire = gold for this upcoming year, but hey, every holiday is commercialized to death. It's fun anyway, and a pig baby of any symbol is lucky.

posted by: Rod on 02.17.07 at 07:24 AM [permalink]

Thanks for alerting me to this. Shocking stuff. I've just posted my own blog (http://graham.asiaandaway.com/travelogue)
about this subject. Please do drop by and have a look. Cheers.

posted by: Graham Bond on 02.18.07 at 10:46 PM [permalink]

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