Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Chinese Conception Calendar

After the lotto last Sunday whose pot money reached P249+ million and was won by somebody from Quezon City, I again thought of a new topic which could interest the readers. I came across this article on population in an old issue of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine written by Donna Demetillo (February 17, 2008).

In the article, the author said that across cultures and through the ages, people seem to be obsessed with having sons. A son ensures the continuity of his father’s line and is seen as an insurance in his parents’ old age. As surrogates to their father, sons are expected to take over as breadwinner should anything happen to the head of the household. Even women prefer to have a male offspring mainly because their husbands treat them with higher regard when they produce sons. Sons have always been deemed to be gifts from the heavens by the most primitive civilizations up to the present. (How true is this Alot and Marie?)

The result of this belief, is a burgeoning population, as couples tirelessly try to have a son despite their household already brimming with girls. In the Philippines, about 2 million babies are added to the population every year.

The Chinese Conception Calendar shown above is said to provide a foolproof method to predetermine the gender of one’s child. According to this method, the couple only has to match the mother’s age with certain months that indicate the preferred gender, and time their child’s conception to coincide with these months.

Dr. Charles Cheng, one of Baguio’s outstanding Citizen awardees, said that some 4,000 years ago, a Chinese emperor ordered his intellectual subjects to draw a conception chart to pre-determine the sex of an unborn child. Said to be 99 percent accurate, the chart which later became known as the Chinese Gender Calendar, the Chinese Conception Calendar or the Chinese Offspring Chart, served as a royal conception guide from the Qin Dynasty all the way up to the Qing Dynasty.

Cheng said that seven hundred years ago, an original copy of the chart was unearthed in the Ming Tomb near Beijing, and is now being safeguarded in the Peking university.

To check the accuracy in more recent times, Dr. Cheng tracked more than 30 births delivered in his hospital from 1972-1980 and he came up with an accura rate of at least 90 percent. (I checked this calendar out and found it to be true. No, I don’t mean producing my own child with the desired gender. My mother was 44 years old when I was conceived, and I was in the month of January ).

I’m one hundred percent sure that our female classmates will not be able to use this anymore to plan their own children. I’m not sure with the guys though! Hmm.... who knows, our frequent travelers and jet-setters might just do it. Joke only!

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