The Madeleine Brand Show

The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Madeleine Brand

China braces for baby boom as Year of the Dragon begins

by The Madeleine Brand Show

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Thousands of people visit a lantern festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Dragon in Shanghai on Jan. 23, 2012. PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans in Southern California and beyond mark the start of the Lunar New Year on Monday.

And because it's the Year of the Dragon, 2012 could also see another baby boom. The Chinese consider it the luckiest of the 12 zodiac signs. Judy Chen of the Asia Society told KPCC’s Madeleine Brand that many Chinese plan to have children during the Dragon year.

“The Dragon is considered the most blessed and noble and powerful sign among all the Chinese zodiacs," said Chen. "Also, strictly speaking, the Chinese people... we are thought of as being descended from the dragon."

According to Chen, even United States Chinese birthing centers have begun to prep for a busy year.

"A lot of people sort of do it tongue-in-cheek," Chen said, "but a lot of parents, that take it as seriously as when they plan their marriage, they'll plan for it to coincide with the Dragon Year."

Even those who take it less seriously, Chen said, always have the Dragon in the back of their mind.

Famous people born during the Year of the Dragon include former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, Bruce Lee and Martin Luther King Jr.

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