Ben Ming Nian – The Twelve-Year Curse (本命年)

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Written by Michael Hanna and updated for the year of the Tiger 2022


Are you prepared for 2022 year of the Yang Water Tiger

Are you prepared for 2022?

2022 Chinese Astrology and Feng Shui guide2022 Feng Shui cures and enhancers2022 Flying star analysis2022 Chinese animal predictions

Ben Ming Nian – The Twelve-Year Curse (本命年)


Ben Ming Nian (本命年 in Chinese) refers to the year of zodiac animal in which one was born.

In the Chinese animal Zodiac, every person will have one of twelve different Chinese animals determined by their date of birth. The twelve Chinese animals will each be assigned to a different year in a 12-year cycle. 2022 is the year of the Yang Water Tiger Ren Yin, so people under the Tiger sign meet their Ben Ming Nian in 2022 and 2021 it is the year of the yin metal Ox, and the Ben Ming Nian animal for 2021 is the Ox.

How to create good luck in your Ben Ming Nian year — Ox beware In 2021 and Tiger in 2022!

Ben Ming Nian twelve animalsBen Ming Nian refers to the Chinese lunar year which starts from the Chinese New Year (Chinese Spring Festival) and ends on Chinese New Year’s Eve (the last day of the Chinese lunar year). For example, 2022 is the Year of the Yang Water Tiger starting 1st February 2022 to 22nd January 2023. So, for the person under the Tiger sign, 2022 is his Ben Ming Nian year and for anyone born an Ox 2021 is your Bin Ming Nian year.

You will encounter your Ben Ming Nian when you are 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96…

You can check your Bin Ming Nian years on the Chinese Zodiac Years Chart below.

Chinese Zodiac AnimalBen Ming Nian Zodiac Year
Rat1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Ox1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
Tiger1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
Rabbit1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
Dragon1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
Snake1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
Horse1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026
Goat1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
Monkey1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028
Rooster1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029
Dog1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030
Pig1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031

How to avoid bad luck and tips to make a good Ben Ming Nian year?

Most Chinese are afraid of their birth sign year, and it is said that during the Ben Ming Nian you will encounter Tai Sui, who is the legendary God in charge of people’s fortune.

Your fortune is said to fluctuate during this unlucky year and belief is that many bad things like illness, financial loss, illicit affairs, business loss, divorce etc. may happen to you but as a Yang Earth dog born in 1958, I had my best years at age 48 and 60 because I placed many Feng Shui cures and enhancers those years and here are a few things you should do when your years come around.

  • Pi Yao 2015Place a Pi Yao (貔貅in Chinese) (aka Pi Xiu or Bixie) which is a Chinese mythical animal that will repel evil spirits, attract wealth and bring happiness and good luck. During your zodiac year of birth, you should place a small statue of this auspicious Pi Yao, and in 2022 you should put it in the southwest facing towards the northeast. For more information on the Pi Yao, Click here…

  • To appease Tai Sui in any year, you should place a gold tai sui card and in 2022 the ruling general for the Yang Water Tiger is He E, and it is vital that we pay respect to this deity and appease him if we are to avoid conflict and problems in our home or business during 2022, and you should place this in the northeast and in 2021 you should place it in the northeast. For more information on Tai Sui and the other annual afflictions, click here…

    Using the colour red in Feng Shui
  • Red is considered to be one of the luckiest colours in Chinese culture and Feng Shui, standing for prosperity, loyalty, success, and happiness. Red can drive away bad luck and evil spirits and wearing red during your zodiac year can bring you good luck. You can wear red socks, red clothes, handbag, wallet and red underwear like bra, knickers/pants, vest etc is highly suggested during your Ben Ming Nian year. However, there is a rule that you need to pay attention to, or the red won’t ward off bad luck. You cannot buy red clothing yourself. It should be purchased by a spouse, family member, or friend. While I have the utmost respect for Chinese culture, this is not something I follow but no harm in trying.

  • In any year you should place your annual Feng Shui cures and enhancers and this not only dissipates the negative energy but also enhancers auspicious energy and can turn a predicted bad year into a very good one.

  • Every Chinese animal has their own protection animal which will help to keep them safe throughout their life; this will be the Chinese animal that you are most compatible with which for the Rat would be the Ox and vice versa. You should try to carry a Chinese animal protection charm or gold-plated Chinese animal protection card of your compatible animal with you as much as possible for protection in your day to day life. For more information on your Chinese animals’ secret friend, click here…

You should always face Away from Tai Sui in any year.

Lu Mi Tai Sui plaque for 2020People are often told that Tai Sui (Grand Duke) will bring you bad luck. Actually, you can make use of Tai Sui to bring you good luck, by facing in the opposite direction. The position of Tai Sui for each year in its cycle is listed below.

I know this is easier said than done but If possible, you should try adjust the direction of beds, seats, desks to face away from Tai Sui to have Tai Sui behind them

For example, in 2021 (year of the Ox) Tai Sui is in the northeast between 22.5 – 37.5 degrees so in 2022 you should adjust your seat or bed so you are facing southwest which have your back or the top of your head facing Tai Sui. This is normally fairly easy to do with a chair at a desk but not easy to achieve with a bed location and do not worry if you cannot do this.

Chinese Zodiac AnimalYearPosition of Tai Sui Grand Duke
Monkey2016Southwest (240 °)
Rooster2017West (270 °)
Dog2018Northwest (300 °)
Pig2019Northwest (330 °)
Rat2020North (0 °)
Ox2021Northeast (30 °)
Tiger2022Northeast (60 °)
Rabbit2023East (90 °)
Dragon2024Southeast (120 °)
Snake2025Southeast (150 °)
Horse2026South (180 °)
Goat2027Southwest (210 °)


Dog Chinese Animal monthly predictionsI have been practising Feng Shui for over 40 years, and I base everything on fact, and I have had FIVE Ben Ming Nian years and with the exception of when I was 12 years old (cannot remember what happened in that year, certainly nothing terrible) I cannot recall any Ben Ming Nian year that brought me (or anyone else) any misfortune so I take this as more superstition than a true Feng Shui Masters belief so please do not concern yourself if you are a Rat reading this in 2020 or an Ox in 2021, follow all the advice above and place all the normal Feng Shui cures and enhancers and your year will be fine.

My Chinese animal is the Dog (born 1958) and my last Ben Ming Nian year was in 2018 (Yang Earth Dog year) and I had a great year enjoying my 60th birthday, Daniels wedding day and also his 30th birthday among other successes and celebrations throughout the year.

4 thoughts on “Ben Ming Nian – The Twelve-Year Curse (本命年)

    1. Hi Kirsten,

      Your Ben Ming Nian is only prominent during the year that your Chinese animal is the yearly pillar. You may face some difficulties during years where the yearly pillar is in conflict with your Chinese animal although there is always a way to overcome these obstacles.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

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