Anchor: Two-thousand-nineteen is the “Year of the Golden Pig” according to the Chinese zodiac. As with many other Asian cultures, Koreans believe that the new year will be a prosperous one because both pig and gold signify wealth and abundance.
Lee Bo-kyung has this report.
Report: According to the Chinese zodiac, which relates each year to an animal of the 12-year cycle, 2019 is the year of the pig.
The pig is a symbol of fortune in many Asian countries. But 2019 is considered very special because it is the "Year of the Golden Pig," which only comes around every 60 years. Gold and pig both signify wealth and abundance, so many people are hoping the upcoming year will be much more prosperous and joyous than previous ones.
Hopes for a prosperous year are especially high among people born in the year of the golden pig in 1959, who turn 60 in 2019.
Some experts anticipate the nation's birthrate may go up as there is a belief that babies born in the year of the golden pig are expected to have a life of greater fortune and wealth.
In fact, the birthrate soared in the much-hailed "Year of the Fire Pig" in 2007 when nearly 497-thousand babies were born. That was up about ten percent from the previous year. It was an exceptionally large increase in light of the nation’s dismal birthrates. The number of newborns in 2018 is estimated to stand at a record low of around 320-thousand.
Many industries are using the image of a golden pig in the marketing of their products and services.
The Korea Minting, Security Printing & ID Card Operating Corporation has already produced gold coins and gold and silver medals to celebrate.
To find out more about pigs, the National Folk Museum of Korea in central Seoul has opened an exhibition titled “Joyous Pig.” It is an annual project by the museum to shed light on the year's zodiac animal. This year, the exhibition features artifacts from the Joseon dynasty as well as piggy banks from the more recent past. Admission is free and will run through March first.
Lee Bo-kyung, KBS World Radio News.