China’s ‘Year of the Widow’ Sparks Panic for 2024 Couples
In China, where the severe problem of low birth rates is an issue, there is a spreading superstition that getting married this year will bring “misfortune.”
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on the 5th (local time), a citizen’s post appeared on the public opinion column of the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs’ website on the 11th of last month, arguing that “‘The Year of the Widow’ is seriously deviated from common sense and science.” He requested the Ministry of Civil Affairs to raise its voice against irrational beliefs so that superstitions and rumors would not sway people.
In response, the Ministry of Civil Affairs replied on the 22nd of last month, “We are paying attention to the issue you raised.”
In fact, since the end of last year, many posts have been shared on Chinese social media, such as “Why 2024 is not suitable for marriage” and “Should we not get married in the Year of the Dragon?”
This year is a “No Spring Year” in China. It literally means “a year without spring.” If the beginning of spring is before the Lunar New Year, there is no beginning of spring after the Lunar New Year; hence, it is called “No Spring Year.” Spring began on February 4th this year, and the Lunar New Year is on the 10th, making it a year without spring.
In China, where spring has been regarded as a symbol of fertility since ancient times, the year without spring is considered an unlucky year for couples, hence the spread of this superstition. This year without spring is also called “the year of the widow.”
SCMP explained, “Spring, symbolizing birth and regeneration, is considered the most vibrant time of the year,” and “the ‘year without spring,’ also regarded as ‘the year of the widow,’ is believed by the public to bring misfortune if one gets married.”
They added, “China Central TV (CCTV) also released a report last week stating that the ‘year without spring’ has nothing to do with misfortune, to educate the public and alleviate fears.”
Meanwhile, China has lost its position as the world’s most populous country to India, as its population decreased for two consecutive years in 2022 and 2023. The number of newborns fell below 10 million for two straight years, reducing the total population. If this trend continues, the population is predicted to plummet to 500 million by 2100.