Chinese New Year: Unlucky or . . .?

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23:1 (NIV)

According to a recent story on CNN, some would-be mothers in Asia are delaying pregnancy. This is because the upcoming Chinese New Year is the Year of the Sheep. The first day of the 2015 Chinese New Year is February 19th. They use a different calendar system than we do. It’s called the Stem-Branch cycle and is based on the Yin-Yang 5 Element Theory. 

It got its start in the year 2,697 BC. For you math lovers out there, that means that in China, this is year number 4,712.

Specifically it’s the year of the Wooden Sheep and as reported by CNN, it can be considered bad luck. As one folk saying goes, people born under this Zodiac sign have only a one in ten chance of finding happiness. Also, the superstition is based on the belief that “sheep babies end up with characteristics associated with their birth signs — docile and destined to be followers, not leaders.”

According to the Chinese Fortune Calendar, I am a “Water Rabbit” born in the year of the brown monkey. What does this mean to me? Not a thing. I’m not superstitious and don’t believe in astrology, but I find it fascinating that other people do. It helps me remember that not everyone thinks like me. Also, when I understand their culture and belief systems, it also helps me relate better to them.

Boston - sheep

As for being a sheep, I consider it an honor because for me it means I have a shepherd; his name is Jesus. Sheep can’t guide themselves, they have to be fully dependent on their shepherd. In turn, the shepherd has a duty and responsibility to care for and protect his sheep.

Just for fun, here are 5 facts about sheep:

  • Sheep are intelligent – they can recognize up to 50 other sheep faces and can recognize human faces too.
  • Lanolin, a product found in many skin care products and cosmetics, comes from sheep wool.
  • Sheep’s milk cheese has more calcium than cow’s milk.
  • President Woodrow Wilson used a flock of sheep to trim the White House lawn.
  • A sheep named Dolly was the first mammal cloned from a human cell.

In John 10:27 Jesus said, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Your turn: Do you know of any culture related superstitions?

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