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 Dragon 2024


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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. 2024 is the year of the Year of the Yang Wood Dragon Jia Shen, so people under the Dragon sign meet their Ben Ming Nian in 2024.

How to create good luck in your Ben Ming Nian year — Dragon beware In 2024!

Ben Ming Nian twelve animalsBen Ming Nian refers to the Chinese lunar year which starts on 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, 2024 is the Year of the Yang Wood Dragon Jia Shen starting 10th February 2024. So, for the person under the Dragon sign, 2024 is their Ben 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 2024 you should put it in the northwest facing towards the southeast. 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 2024, the ruling general for the Year of the Yang Wood Dragon Jia Shen year is Li Cheng, 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 2024, and you should place this in the southeast. 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.

People 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 to adjust the direction of beds, seats, and desks to face away from Tai Sui to have Tai Sui behind them.

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For example, in 2024 (year of the Dragon) Tai Sui is in the east between 112.5– 117.5 degrees so in 2024 you should adjust your seat or bed so you are not facing the southeast. You would usually sit with your back to Tai Sui for support, although we have the Sui Po in the northwest and it is not advisable to face this direction.  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 predictions

I have dedicated more than four decades to practising Feng Shui, grounding my approach in factual evidence. Throughout my experience, I’ve encountered five Ben Ming Nian years, and, aside from a foggy memory of my 12th year (where nothing particularly negative transpired), I cannot recall any instance where a Ben Ming Nian year brought misfortune to me or anyone else. Consequently, I personally regard this aspect as a little bit of superstition rather than a genuine belief held by Feng Shui Masters although i still treat it with utmost respect and place all the annual Feng Shui cures and enhancers. If you happen to be a Dragon in 2024 or a Snake in 2025, I encourage you to adhere to the advice provided earlier, employ standard Feng Shui remedies, and rest assured that your year will unfold positively.

As a Dog born in 1958, my most recent Ben Ming Nian year occurred in 2018 during the Yang Earth Dog year. Remarkably, it turned out to be a fantastic year marked by the joyous celebration of my 60th birthday, Daniel’s wedding day, and his 30th birthday, among other successes and festivities. Looking ahead, my next Ben Ming Nian year is in 2030, and I approach it with unwavering confidence and a lack of concern.

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

    1. Hi Frank,

      Yes, this will be in the same direction in the southern hemisphere, as this is based on the magnetic direction.

      I hope this helps 🙂

      Kind regards,

    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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