Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fire Horse

Yesterday Lorna was at the local school where she often goes on a Tuesday morning, sometimes for library duty, sometimes doing things with other mothers. As always there is conversation about all sorts of things. But yesterday Lorna discovered something she hadn't known before. She happened to mention she was born in 1966. And that brought about quite a reaction. 'You're a hinoeuma - a fire horse!' Not really following what that was all about, an explanation followed about how 1966 was a very inauspicious year for a baby girl to be born. The Chinese zodiac calendar has twelve animals and the one which matches to 1966 is a horse. No big problem there. However, there are also 5 elements (earth, wood, fire, metal and water) which can go with any one year, giving 60 possible combinations of animal and element. 1966 saw the horse and fire combine and that year became the first year of the hinoeuma (fire horse) since 1906. 'Fire horse women' are said to be dangerous, headstrong and deadly to men! The ladies at the school yesterday said that it was hard for a 'fire horse woman' to find a marriage partner. Yesterday the mothers all had a laugh about this but there is a more sinister side. In the year 1966 there were about 600,000 fewer births than the previous and succeeding years. And even sadder, the abortion rate rose significantly in that year. It was an eye opener to us and really showed us how some of these superstitions can really affect what people here do, even if they don't actually believe it. The next 'fire horse' year is 2026. How great is the task to bring the gospel to people in a land where so many superstitions and traditions can lead so many astray.

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