The Male Earth Dog year in the Buddhist calendar has many pregnant women rejoicing in delight and hope, as it is believed that a child born this year will bring prosperity to the family.
The birthing center at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) has seen 1,532 births till 14 June. However, the nurse on duty at the birth center said, “Since the start of this year, the beds and rooms are not enough. We are doing around 350 deliveries per month this year. Sometimes, we even have had to use trolleys for births since the beds are filled.”
There are 5 delivery rooms with two wards for antenatal and post natal care, each containing 6 beds in the birthing center and 35 beds in the maternity ward.
Sangay Zam, 30, who gave birth to her first child a month ago said, “My husband and I have especially planned to have our baby this year, after three years of our marriage, as it is believed that the baby born this year will be a lucky charm in the family and will have a prosperous life.”
68-year-old Aum Thuji from Punakha said, “The belief has been prevailing since ages and people in the past also had more babies during the auspicious ‘Mewa Gumar’.”
According to the Buddhist astrology, the Male Earth Dog year, which starts from 16 February 2018 and ends on 4 February 2019 is considered as a special year, in fact, an ideal year to give birth since it is a ‘Mewa Gumar’ (formation of 9 stars in a constellation),
The Vice Principal of Pangrizampa College for Astrology, Lama Sonam Rinchen, said that ‘Mewa Gumar’ which comes after every 9 years in the Buddhist calendar is considered as a special time to give birth. “The child being born this year is said to have enormous blessings with a symbolic flower of wealth in both hands.”
He also added, “The child will be gifted with great intelligence and will be able to stand on his or her own feet, despite the financial conditions of their parents.”
He said it is especially lucky for a male child to be born this year. “Since it is the Male Earth Dog Year, a good gender to born is a boy, but generally a baby girl born this year will be prosperous as well since it is ‘Mewa Gumar’.”
Pangrizampa’s Lama Sonam Richen also said that a couple might want to give birth, especially if the parents want their child to be happy and to do well in life, which ultimately makes them happy. “This is the true meaning of happiness for the parents”.
He said it is also good to see if the baby’s ‘Kham’ (the four element of nature like earth, fire, metal and water) if being born this year is suitable to the parents or not. “Most people just see the year generally, but there are also steps you can take if you go deeper and more specific to each month, date, time that a baby can be born in, for the best prosperity,” Lama Sonam Rinchen said.
However, the Medical Superintendant of JDWNRH, Dr Gosar Pemba, said that the national birth rate has considerably decreased over the years. “This might be due to factors such as, the family is already complete and they don’t want more babies, especially in this modern world where people don’t go for more babies nor prefer to have babies early in their lives.”
Dr Gosar Pemba said, “The ones who planned babies this year are mostly young couples who want to expand the number of children or the first timers who have never had a baby before.” He said that as per the fertility rate of the country, there should be at least 12,000 births a year.
But over the last few years, the average has been 11,000 births every year. There were 11,430 births in 2015, 10,948 births in 2016 and 11,134 total births in 2017. So while the birth rates will shoot up in 2018 it may just be a temporary religious phenomenon.