My daughter was born in Hong Kong in 2007 and, wow, was that a big year for babies in Chinese culture. It was Year of the Golden Pig, and one of the most auspicious for giving birth. If your child was born in between February 18, 2007 and February 6, 2008, this might be some interesting trivia for you.
What Is Year Of The Golden Pig?
The Year of the Pig occurs every 12 years on the zodiac calendar. In the lead up to Year of the Golden Pig, Hong Kong media reported that it was an every 600 years occurrence. However, here in the U.S., it’s quoted as happening every 60 years.
In either case, if you are a believer in the Chinese zodiac and were thinking of having children around that time, you probably would have made extra sure the child was born during this time in 2007, if possible.
Keep in mind that back then in some mainland Chinese areas, people were only allowed one child (this law has since been repealed). If you were going to plan for that one child, wouldn’t you want he or she to be born in the most auspicious year?
Why It Is an Auspicious Year
A pig is jolly and fat, which is symbolic of wealth. You need money to eat and be happy, right? Chinese folklore has it that a child born in the Year of the Golden Pig will certainly experience a prosperous and healthy life. The child will also be honest and hardworking.
We did not plan to have my daughter in the Year of the Golden Pig. It was just “luck.”
Fear of a Baby Boom
This brought up all sorts of concerns in Hong Kong and China, such as a considerable portion of the workforce being out on maternity leave at the same time as well as overcrowding of hospitals. Mainland Chinese need a visa to enter Hong Kong, but some are permitted to give birth at private hospitals there.
(Having given birth in Hong Kong, I get why people in nearby countries would go to great lengths have babies there. My Hong Kong hospital was like a five-star hotel, and the care I received was far superior to anything I’ve ever experienced in California.)
The result? There were going to be even more people entering legally and illegally, both putting pressure on the Hong Kong health care system. Not only that, but plenty of Hong Kong residents postponed having a baby until Year of the Golden Pig, though not as many as those on the mainland.
Hospitals Required Reservations from Day One
While I was home in California for the holidays, I learned my OB-GYN in Hong Kong had forgotten to make a reservation for me at my hospital of choice. I thought she had done this on day one, but all was revealed while I was in the U.S. and helpless to do much about it. Panic is an understatement.
In the Year of the Golden Pig, there was no way you could go into labor and expect to be accepted into your hospital of choice as is the norm in many other countries around the world. No way.
You needed to book your hospital the second your pregnancy was confirmed by a doctor, which luckily could be nearly immediately after you felt pregnant (one month in my case). Even then, your first choice was not guaranteed because there were so many people giving birth.
What Actually Happened
The hospitals in Hong Kong were indeed overflowing. There were reports of women giving birth in the hallways of the public hospitals because there were no beds available and had to accept everyone giving birth.
In the end, I switched doctors to the most high powered OB-GYN at my hospital of choice, and I got into the Matilda. It was the most amazing experience ever.
It Was a Good Year for All
Needless to say, 2007 was a great year for anyone in the baby business. I even read a Reuters article that talks about lagging condom sales in the months before the Year of the Golden Pig!
In the end, there indeed were a lot of babies born in Asia in the Year of the Golden Pig. I don’t think it caused quite the strain on China that some were expecting. But, future concerns, like overcrowding of schools, remain to be seen.
Do you have a Golden Pig baby? If so, hopefully, they can spoil YOU in your golden years.
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