Whether it’s the auspicious influence of the year of the Golden Pig, the outcome of Bada’s awareness-raising concert, the result of Shin Dong-jin’s efforts as head of the birth-boosting campaign, or a combination of all the above, Yonhap announces an increase in the birthrate in 2006. KBS gets all technical about the potential astrological reasons:
2006 was a lucky “ssangchun year,” because there were two “ipchuns,” or first days of spring that fell within one lunar calendar year. Many couples chose to get married last year in the belief that the “double spring” year was lucky. Some experts attributed the hike in childbirths to the increase in marriages in 2006. However, many of the couples who tied the knot last year have yet to give to birth any children. Given this fact, the jump in newborns is more attributable to the belief that those born in 2007, the Year of the Golden Pig, will be blessed. The lunar calendar gives each year one of 12 animal signs, with years rotating through the five elementsâ€”gold, wood, water, fire and earth. Children born when the Year of the Pig coincides with the element of gold in the zodiac rotation, occurring every 60 years, are said to be blessed. Even more newborns are expected from the ssangchun year and Golden Pig Year effects. The government’s measures to boost birthrates also seem to be paying off.
The Joongang is a bit more sceptical, saying it’s too early to say whether the government’s measures are beginning to have an impact. KBS has the most comprehensive coverage of the report, and is worth a read.
- S. Korea’s births rise for first time in six years, Hankyoreh, 8 May
- Korean Babies on the Rise Again. KBS, 8 May
- Birthrate increase in 2006 may be temporary trend, Joongang Daily, 8 May
- Bada and the Birthrate, LKL, 29 July 2006
- Condoms as a lucky charm, LKL, 11 July 2006
- S.Korea’s Birthrate Still Lowest in the World, Chosun Ilbo, 22 May 2008