What is Ben Mein Nain? And how does it bring bad luck to your Chinese zodiac year?

by 24USATVFeb. 10, 2024, 2 p.m. 17

In Chinese culture, "Ben Ming Nian" means the year when your zodiac animal matches the year you were born. You might think this brings good luck, but in traditional Chinese belief, it's a year filled with challenges and problems in all parts of your life. However, traditional ways exist to protect yourself from bad luck and gain favour with the gods, even during your Ben Ming Nian.

In Chinese astrology, there are twelve zodiac animals, like Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Unlike in Western astrology, each animal rules over a whole year instead of just a month. When the year matches the zodiac animal of your birth year, it's called your "Ben Ming Nian".

Your Ben Ming Nian happens once every twelve years. You can easily figure out when it is by checking if your age is a multiple of 12, like 24, 36, or 48. Even though the lunar new year starts a bit later than the Gregorian calendar (around January or February), the zodiac animals still line up roughly with Western calendar years. For instance, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, and 2025 will be the Year of the Snake.

How will Ben Mein Nain bring bad luck to your Chinese zodiac year?

Being in your Ben Ming Nian isn't something to celebrate. It's believed to bring bad luck because of something called the God of "Tai Sui." When emperors ruled, sharing a name with the emperor was considered bad luck. Similarly, sharing the zodiac animal with the God of Tai Sui might upset them.

During your Ben Ming Nian, you're thought to be more likely to have bad luck. Some say it's even worse than that. For example, it's advised not to get married or start big projects during this time because they might not turn out well. If you have to make big changes during your Ben Ming Nian, you can try a few things to hopefully avoid upsetting the God of Tai Sui too much and lessen the bad luck.

How to bring good luck to your Chinese zodiac year?

A Shrine for the God of Tai Sui: If it's your zodiac year, it might offend the God of Tai Sui. To fix this, you can set up a shrine in your home and ask for forgiveness. Each Tai Sui has a favoured direction, so place the shrine accordingly. For instance, in 2021, it's best to put it in the northeast corner of your house. Avoid any activities that might disturb Tai Sui's peace.

Avoiding Direct Gaze at Tai Sui: It's considered disrespectful to look directly at Tai Sui. During your Ben Ming Nian, arrange your furniture to avoid Tai Sui's favoured direction. This could potentially bring you extra good luck and avoid angering Tai Sui.

Wearing Zodiac Talismans or Pixiu: You can wear a pendant or bracelet with your zodiac animal or Pixiu, a mythical creature believed to bring wealth. Many people prefer jade talismans because jade is thought to remove impurities from the body, including bad luck.

Dressing in Red for Luck: The colour red is a highly auspicious colour in Chinese culture, symbolizing prosperity and happiness. Wearing red items, such as a red belt or scarf, during your Ben Ming Nian may bring you additional luck. Some people even wear red underwear and socks during the lunar new year, especially if it's their zodiac year, to attract good fortune


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