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5 Countries That Take Astrology Way More Seriously Than You Do

Have you been under the impression that astrology's biggest fans reside in the hippie-dippie, free-spirited enclaves of the U.S.? Well, think again! The ancient practice has a global foothold, and believers in other cultures go as far as using the zodiac to hire people and predict presidential elections. Read on to discover the countries where people gotta have their horoscopes

Calcuttan writer Bharati Mukhurjee noted in the New York Times, "I might not have a birth certificate, but I do have a horoscope." And that's no surprise, given that of any country in the world, astrology is perhaps the most popular in India, which holds the number-one spot for astrology-related Google searches. India has its own system, known as Vedic astrology, which has been used to arrange marriages and predict childbearing opportunities, but people also use it to select the perfect time to launch a business or even predict international political events.

Astrology's most serious fans may live in China—at least, you may feel that way if you happen to be the "wrong" sign while job searching. In fact, you might even see employment ads in China that openly discourage certain Sun signs from applying. According to a recent story by The New Republic, some Chinese employers refuse to hire Virgos, thanks to their well-known "fussiness." For others, Scorpios and Cancers aren't welcome. And you thought the job hunt in the U.S. was hard!

Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, more locals subscribe to the top astrology magazine than the daily news, according to reporting by the BBC. The advice of astrologers is taken very seriously—even by the authorities. For example, in 2009 an astrologer was arrested for daring to predict that the current president would be overthrown!

Astrology is a big business in Nepal. Since 2008, astrologer Basudev Krishna Shastri has had his own television show, catapulting him to national celebrity status, according to The Telegraph. This makes Oprah's most New Age-y talk-show guests look downright scientific. And—good news for Sri Lankan women—female astrologers have finally started to make major strides in the country where close to 99 percent of astrologers are believed to be male.

Great Britain
Astrology has even made inroads in the British parliament, where member David Tredinnick advocates acceptance of astrology and alternative medicine to improve health. Tredinnick advocates the mental health benefits of self-discovery through astrology, saying that he believes new subscribers to astrology "will find out a lot about themselves and it will make their lives easier." Can you imagine Rep. John Boehner advocating astrology as an alternative to Obamacare? Neither can we.

Image via Hemant Mehta

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