You may already know about the twelve years of the Chinese zodiac calendar – this year is the sheep, last year was the horse, the year before the snake, the year before that the dragon, etc. I hadn’t heard about the combination of those animals with the five elements (fire, wood, earth, metal, and water) to make the wood dragon or the metal snake, etc. Each of these occur once every 60 years or five cycles of the twelve signs. Some are considered good, others not so good. The really bad one in Japan is the Fire Horse or Hinoeuma. People born during this year have the worst bad luck. Women are especially unlucky. The article I read said these women make disastrous wives.
This superstition is so powerful that men avoid marrying Fire Horse Women and couples avoid giving birth to children that year. The last Hinoeuma was in 1966. Birth rates in Japan that year declined by 26%, according to the Japan Statistical Yearbook, or by 15% according to some other sources. Women who were actually born that year will often claim to have been born the previous or the next year.
In 2010, researchers from Osaka University and Japan’s Gender Equality Bureau found that these Fire Horse Women completed less formal education, had household incomes that were less, and were divorced more often than women a few years older or younger.
Do you know anyone born in 1966? What do you think? Is someone born in the year of the fire horse more unlucky than anyone else?