Ben Ming Nian[ běn mìng nián ]

 if your birth year was 1984 and your Chinese Zodiac sign is the Rat, now 2020 is the year of the Rat, too. Hence 2020 is your Ben Ming Nian. Every 12 years from your birth year will be your Ben Ming Nian.

2020 is the Rat year

Ben Ming Nian is a Chinese phrase, which means one’s birth year same with one of twelve animals representing the years in which people are born.

And The time of Ben Ming Nian is calculated from the beginning of the first day of the Lunar New Year (Spring Festival) to the end of the last day (New Year’s Eve).

Traditional Meaning Of Ben Ming Nian

In the traditional customs of the Han nationality( B.C.202-220), the Ben Ming Nian is often regarded as an unlucky year. There is a ball in China describing people in their Ben Ming Nian who will offend “Tai Sui” and live with more sadness than happiness. Of Which is the best portrayal of the ominous Ben Ming Nian. Therefore, the Han people called Ben Ming Nian as “threshold year”, that is, to spend the Ben Ming Nian is like stepping into a threshold.

In the northern part of the Han nationality, both adults and children need to wear a red belt when they were in their Ben Ming Nian. Children also wear red waistcoats and red underpants. They believe that only in this way can they pursue good fortune and avoid misfortune and disaster. Every Spring Festival, there are red and yellow silk ribbons with “auspicious belt” and “auspicious knot” sold everywhere in the market. The Han people in the Ben Ming Nian tied them to their waists and wrists, which also embody the good wishes of the Han working people to dispel evil spirits, avoid disasters, and pray for blessings.

In Chinese culture, the color Red represents fortunes and lucky

The emphasis on red in the Ben Ming Nian was derived from the worship of red in traditional Chinese culture. Red is exorcism and auspiciousness, this concept has existed as early as the Chinese primitive society. Red is the color of the sun, blood, and fire. As time goes, this idea of advocating red has never changed.

No matter when and where people will use red to celebrate festivals or activities. (i.e, Red couplets will be pasted on the new year’s day, and red wedding dresses, red candles, red banners).  The Han people regard red as a symbol of happiness, success, loyalty, and justice. In particular, red has the function of exorcism and protect yourselves from evils. Therefore, on New Year’s Eve, people will wear red underwear or red belt, and some of the accessories they wear are also hung with red silk rope to welcome their own year of birth. It is believed that only in this way can we seek good fortune and avoid evil, and eliminate disasters.

In traditional Chinese Culture, people also have the custom of worshiping “Ben Ming God” to prolong their life. In fact, the luck of Ben Ming Nian is different from person to person and can not be generalized.

The custom of Ben Ming Nian

Ben Ming Nian is an important part of the traditional culture of China. It has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the masses among people. In China, people are always given special treatment when it’s their Ben Ming Nian, such as being forced to “wear red underwear” and hang “red rope”; These people, who usually receive expensive gifts on their birthday party in this year.

There is a folk saying that people will encounter bad luck in the Ben Ming Nian, and often encounter many things that do not suit their wishes, such as illness, losing money, committing villains, extramarital affairs, etc.; and they would even do some seemingly absurd things.

But many people think that if you are born with good fortunes, the Ben Ming Nian can not influence you as well. If you have bad luck, you will face difficulties all the time.

Because of two different opinions, people have a lot of ideas about Ben Ming Nian. They are worried about their fortune in the year and hope to spend the year peacefully. As a result, many customs and taboos related to Ben Ming Nian have been formed.

1.Tiered belts

Red belts they tie in their Ben Ming Nian, known as “auspicious belts” and “auspicious knots”, are sold well in the market. People in Ben Ming Nian tie them around their waists and wrists, believing that in this way, disasters and evil will not afraid to be close to them.

2.Worship for their Ben Ming God( Their Chinese Zodiac God)

People will go to a famous temple and pray for a good fortune at the beginning of their Ben Ming Nian, usually the first day of Lunar Chinese New Year.

3.Wear Red Clothes and socks

The custom of wearing red underwear in Ben Ming Nian is very popular all over the country. However, many local customs believe that red underwear and underpants must be sent by others. It is said that in this way, the effect of eliminating evil spirits will be greatly enhanced.

4.Wear Some Mascots

In the year of Ben Ming Nian, wearing brave troops (also known as Tianlu), was a kind of mythical beast in ancient Chinese myths and legends. It had a dragon head, a horse body, and a dragon foot. It looked like a lion. Its fur was gray and it can fly into the sky. This kind of mascot could drive away evil spirits and bring happiness and good luck.

In ancient times, when the army won a battle, it was necessary to send a special person to report victory with a red flag. Students had to wear red flags and wear red flowers when they got their fame. Only Guan Yunchang, the loyal and brave God, had the right to enjoy the red facial makeup in Peking Opera. Chinese people regard red as a symbol of happiness, success, and good luck.

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