What are the origins?
There is plenty of information about the Chinese Gender
Calendar circulating on the internet, not least regarding its
origin. Many sources state that the calendar was found by a
Chinese scientist upon examining a royal tomb near
Beijing, about 700 years ago. We have not been able to
verify that and apparently our research is leading in a
somewhat different direction.
It appears that the calendar indeed was royal, invented by
royal astrologers for exclusive use by the concubines of
imperial China. Naturally it was used for predicting and
selecting the gender of babies, just like it is being used
today. But such powerful knowledge was not intended for
common people, so the calendar remained a well-kept
secret until after the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, which
also marked the end of imperial China. Not until then was it
finally revealed and became widely used among the
Why is gender so important in China?
Gender has always been an important issue in China. Like
in any patriarchal society, having a boy is much preferred
over a girl. This preference has its roots in the age old
agricultural tradition. Agriculture was always and still is
the largest occupation in China and a boy meant another
pair of hands to work on the fields, leading to greater
income. A girl on the other hand, stayed home until
marriage and was associated with greater expenses. In
addition, only boys could inherit property and take over a
business or farm.
Hence it is no surprise that the Chinese gender calendar
has survived. In fact, in recent years the calendar has
increased in popularity, due to the Chinese government's
policies that limit reproduction to one child per family.