Chinese Women Stave Off Death to Perform their Ceremonial Duties

But there's something more: the Harvest Moon Festival is an important holiday in traditional Chinese communities in America. In the week preceding the festival, the death rate in the community is found to fall by 35 per cent. In the following week the death rate jumps by 35 per cent. Control groups of non-Chinese show no such effect. You might think that suicides are responsible, but only deaths from natural causes are counted. You might think that stress or overeating might account for it, but this could hardly explain the fall in death rate before the harvest moon. The largest effect is for people with cardiovascular disease, which is known to be influenced by stress. Cancer showed a smaller effect. On more detailed study, it turned out that the fluctuations in death rate occurred exclusively among women 75 years old or older. The Harvest Moon Festival is presided over by the oldest women in the households. They were able to stave off death for a week or two to perform their ceremonial responsibilities. A similar effect is found among Jewish men in the weeks centred on Passover - a ceremony in which older men play a leading role - and likewise, worldwide for birthdays, graduation ceremonies and the like.


Before the Harvest Moon festival, deaths drop off, but surge afterwards.

Folksonomies: wonder phenomena health

/art and entertainment/shows and events/festival (0.700707)
/health and fitness/disease (0.524011)
/health and fitness/disease/cancer (0.408721)

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Disease (0.967147): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Death (0.813596): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Mid-Autumn Festival (0.678312): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Ceremony (0.672012): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Harvest moon (0.613811): dbpedia | freebase
Ceremonies (0.591653): dbpedia
Demography (0.589673): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Han Chinese (0.577664): dbpedia | freebase

 The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Sagan , Carl and Druyan , Ann (1997-02-25), The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Ballantine Books, Retrieved on 2011-05-04
Folksonomies: science empiricism rationalism