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Culture: Avoiding a clash with the "Fan Tai Sui" in the new year

First, back to some basics: For the Chinese, time is split into 12-year cycles which in turn have five 12-year cycles to making up a larger cycle of 60 years. These different cycles represent the five elements being Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Metal, and the 12 zodiac animals.

In Chinese tradition, Tai Sui, also known as the Grand Duke Jupiter, will affect some zodiac animal signs in the year. If you belong to the affected group that clashes with the Tai Sui, Chinese believe you will experience problems that year.

Saravanan from team LocalHood took the opportunity to learn more about 犯太歲 (fàn tài suì), how it effects our zodiac year the current Lunar New Year onwards. And his personal take on how to avoid this clash!

In Pic: Chinese Horoscope

Each year, some zodiacs offend the Grand Duke differs. You will see at least three or four zodiac signs that fàn tài suì each year. Similar to what I said above, these are just interactions from an astrological perspective with the Branch of the year. Let’s use 2022‘s Year Of The Tiger as an example. The four zodiac signs that fàn tài suì in 2022 are Monkey, Snake, Pig, and itself. This coming 2023 Lunar New Year marks the birth of the year of the Rabbit and the end of the Tiger.

In Pic: Sample of how the red talisman sheet

Having been born in the year of the Tiger myself, when the year of Tiger began early 2022, i hurried on over to the closest temple i know of (Man Mo temple). I had my friend in toe to help me out since i can hardly communicate in Cantonese to the “sifu”. I paid an amount of HKD68, which we dropped off in the donation box and followed the “sifu”s instructions. We were handed stacks of papers, small and large incense sticks and candles. It was pretty simple, we had to burn the small incense stick, seek blessings from the different deities within the temple, and leave 2/3 of the incense sticks on each of the altar. Next we burned the large incense sticks and candles and left it at the alter in the entrance of the temple. Following next, we sought the blessings of the deity that represents our zodiac signs (it’s best you know your time, date, month and year of your birth) and hand the stack of paper to be burned at the entrance of the temple. It is advisable to go to the temple with a local or someone who speaks cantonese. When all of this is done, the sifu will hand on over a piece or red paper or “talisman” which you have to fold (instructions will be posted on the entrance door) and keep it close to you at all times (in your wallet/bag). All in all it takes only a few minutes and yes the temple will be crowded during the Lunar New Year period. Please take note that the when the year comes to an end ( the end of the Lunar calendar) you have to pay back the debt/blessing you sought in the past. I went back to the same temple early January before the end of the year of the tiger to burn my old talisman and to thank the deity for giving me a good year.

In Pic: Man Mo Temple

Fàn tài suì can be a positive thing sometimes. It’s just that the process towards getting to this positive ending often feels tumultuous for the uninitiated. Most believes tremble in fear when they hear their zodiac sign fàn tài suì in a particular year, but I would say this fear is unfounded. The ‘offending’ of the Grand Duke is simply a term we use to describe an astrological trait in one’s chart. Take this as an example, if you were born during the year of the Tiger, a Monkey year sees you ‘clashing’ with the Grand Duke. This “clash” represents the clash in the Earthly Branches representing Tiger and Monkey, which is yin (寅) and shen (申)

In Pic: Chinese calendar for the zodiacs

As i have had the opportunity to visit the temple right before the end of the Lunar Calendar, I had the chance to obtain the calendar for the zodiacs that will clash this coming year of the Rabbit. I have also enclosed the picture it in a simpler English format right below, thanks to the trusty google website.

Points to note, the temple doesn’t provide any change, so it would be ideal to prepare smaller notes and drop it in the donation box as instructed by the sifu. Also make sure to prepare some red pockets aka Lai See to hand out to the sifu(s) in the temple as it is customary to do so. If you do seek out the blessings for the year of the Rabbit since your zodiac will clash with the Grand Duke, I strongly advise you to pay it back at the end of the Lunar calendar by next year January. It is as easy as heading back to the same temple where you sought the blessings and repeating a similar process where you had burned the papers, incense and candles, just be sure to include your folded red paper along with it this time around.


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