#63 Year of the Sheep: bad year for babies, good for business?
Today starts the Year of the Sheep and whether you are one who particular subscribes to the predictions of the year ahead or not, I find them quite interesting to learn about and it definitely gives us ‘laowai’ some insight into the superstitions of the land. In today’s show, I share the culminated findings of the bit of the research I did to find out who and what will find success this year (and how!) and what this auspicious Year of the Sheep is expected to bring to all of us around the globe.
Sheep years bring success to those who use intelligence, creativity, tenacity and teamwork over sheer force or dynamism.
Refusing a wedding on the 27th?
I don’t particularly subscribe to astrology or superstition although I have been influenced by all of my years in China I’m not gonna lie. So much so, in fact, that 7 years ago, after 2 years stowed away in rural China, I flat out refused to marry Ron on the 27th. You see, the number 7 is pronounced ‘qī’ and it sounds a bit like the Chinese word ‘qì’ which indicates anger. And at that time I was convinced that if we married on the 27th, we’d have a marriage filled with anger, double anger at that because of that pesky two! I’ve chilled out a bit since then but I can definitely see how growing up in a place steeped in so much tradition and what we might call superstition can really affect how one sees and plans out their year.
Today starts the Year of the Sheep. Happy New Year! And there’s all this chatter around if it’s the sheep, ram, or goat. Well I didn’t know, so I looked up a bunch of articles to see if I could decipher the truth for you. All of the articles will be listed on the Show Notes page for this episode. I’m going to attempt to not plagiarize here but unlike the other episodes on CNY this isn’t actually original content for the most part because I didn’t know, so just in case, the references are there if you’d like!
So what is it? Sheep, ram or goat?
What’s happening to cause the confusion is, it’s the year of the ‘yang’ in Chinese. Well, depending on which other character you put before ‘yang’, you could be dealing with a sheep, a goat, or a Mongolian gazelle, even. See how awesome Chinese is! Most sources say what you call it in English doesn’t really matter. My favorite explanation came from ChinaTravelGuide.com and I quote, “To ordinary Chinese, it seems the confusion never bothers them. They may take goat as the zodiac animal, but prefer to buy a sheep mascot, because it is more lovely and fluffy.” True that. I have to agree there!
What can we expect this year?
The Sheep is an artist. As a natural humanitarian, the sheep is nurturing and kind, prefers calm environments, yet loves operating in a crowd (think, herd!). What could this mean for the year ahead? I particularly enjoyed this prediction by AstrologyClub.org because our world so desperately needs this. Here goes:
The Sheep is the symbol of the Arts. It relates to passive and nurturing times. It will help the healing process with regard to past events caused by individuals who have little respect for the human race or life itself. It will be a year of banding together in faith and in belief that good will prevail and win out over the forces that refuse to comply to a peaceful way of life. For those who trust in goodness, happiness and success will follow.
The emphasis will be on joining forces in order to fight the evil and destruction that has been brewing. With the planet Saturn into the sign Scorpio and the planet Pluto in its long stay in the sign Capricorn, there will be greater concern with structure, getting back to basics and using greater intuition to find solutions to problems that have been plaguing the world for some time.
2015 is a year to use mental abilities over brute force. For those who wish to be aggressive, expect to be out-maneuvered by strategy and common sense.
Again, I’m not loving that that quote came from astrologyclub.org but boy, do we need to band together to fight evil, destruction and those who have little respect for the human race or life itself. And if that’s what will happen this year, I’m game for playing a part in bringing more peace and harmony to the world!
Bad year for babies?
There’s a bit of buzz too about having babies in the New Year. Some news reports registered pregnancies at hospitals decreasing and women scrambling to arrange C-sections before midnight on February 19th when the year officially begins. This is something I had heard about this tradition from our ayi, Yang, who is super superstitious. She advised me not to have our third baby in the Year of the Sheep because babies born this year, and specifically baby girls have a really hard life ahead of them. (Yes, it’s true I do talk family planning with Yang; although I try to not let her superstition sink into my heart and brain at all.)
According to a CNN article, back in the day, the sheep was revered for being compassionate and associated with filial piety both, “important qualities praised by ancient scholars yet, virtues that have fallen out of favor” in today’s society. Today, it’s believed by some that those born in the Year of the Sheep will be docile and destined to be followers, not leaders.
Sheep strategies for personal and business success
All that being said, USA Today posted an article that struck a very hopeful chord with me! It was entitled Strategies: Are you ready for the Chinese Year of the Sheep? and foretells a solidly successful year for small businesses. In comparison to last year’s Year of the Horse where it was a go, go, go year for business, this year promises to be “calmer, more secure and predictable.” I don’t know about you but I could use a calmer year than last year in life and business!
The article also points out how the Year of the Sheep is the 8th year of the twelve-year Chinese zodiac cycle. In Asian culture, eight is an auspicious number that signifies prosperity and fortune so this is expected to be a particularly good year.
I thought this was interesting too! The article points out that:
“Another characteristic of sheep that bodes well for your small business is that sheep produce wool, which replenishes every year. So this year, pay particular attention to developing customers who will produce recurring revenue. Can you create a subscription basis for your product or service? Can you create “wool” that you can shear over and over?”
Now that’s a very business-y example, but is it applicable for those of us who don’t have a business to run? I believe so. The whole idea is setting up something that produces a desired outcome over and over again, right? Well, I think about the possibility of setting up systems, routines and habits in my personal life, in my home, and with my family even that will have us all reaping the benefits for years to come. Hmmm… getting back into exercising on a regular basis would be nice, or prioritizing that un-erasable weekly night out with Ron and time with my girls would make massive strides in the New Year to building bonds that will serve us all for years to come. What could you set up in your life this year that would do the same?
Who will find success this year?
And if you are an entrepreneur or in intrapreneur for that matter, here’s who USA Today says will find extra success this year:
- “Sheep-like” entrepreneurs. Those who don’t attract a lot of attention to themselves, but are tough and resilient underneath that tame exterior. Gentle and fluffy on the outside, tough as nails on the inside.
- Also, women! Because the sheep is also considered the most feminine of the Chinese zodiac animals, it should be a successful year for women entrepreneurs. So all you females out there who have been thinking about starting or growing a business, get on it in the Year of the Sheep!
- Remember before how I mention Sheep are known for the arts? This year, whether you work with a more traditional arts and music or if as you use creativity in your day-to-day grind, let your creativity shine to see more success in the year ahead.
- Lastly, it’s time to get your herd on. If you’re the kind of entrepreneur who works well in teams, this should be a good year for your small or growing business.
Fact or Fiction?
Is this stuff real? I don’t know. I’ve not been tracking with it over the course of my life so I can’t say too much on the validity of all this. I do have one child born in the Year of the Tiger and one born in the Year of the Dragon and they’re both ridiculously tenacious, strong-willed, stubborn-as-all-get-out go-getters. But I tend to think that genes have more of a role to play in that than the year in which they were born. I can see how Chinese people would put such stock in a year because like I said before it’s very engrained in their culture. So whether I believe or not, I think it’s interesting and worth learning about I try my best to be gentle and culturally sensitive and not dismissive of others beliefs.
At this point, no one knows what the year ahead will truly bring. But may you find peace, love, and happiness in the Year of the Sheep, Ram, or Goat. You have 365 days to make it everything what you want it to be. So go get it!