Chinese new year misfortune and how to avoid it

“Xin Jia Yu Ei, Xin Ni Huad Chai” is a phrase that is heard all over Thailand during the Chinese New Year season. Translated from Chinese, the greeting means “wishing all your wishes come true and a happy new year”, which is really something we can all benefit from. 

With the new year comes new fortunes, or in this case, Chinese new year misfortunes, for those who believe it. Depending on which sign you were born under the Chinese zodiac, this year could be your Pee-Chong, which means “misfortuned year” in Thai. So, you better check your charts and follow the luck-enhancing rituals to prevent any Chinese new year misfortune. 

What exactly is Pee Chong?

Pee Chong is a combination between the Thai word Pee, which means ‘Year’, and ‘Chong’, which means confrontation in Chinese. Under the Chinese Zodiac, every sign experiences Pee Chong when their sign is in direct confrontation with Tai Sui, the Chinese god of everything, such as health and wealth, in the astrological chart. 

The conflict between your sign and Tai Sui thus results in misfortune on your health, finances, relationships and overall luck.

Tai Sui
Tai Sui, as seen in a collectable card
Image credit: Amazon

Four different levels of Chong

Like Western astrology, there are 12 signs in the Chinese Zodiac – the main difference is that Chinese zodiac signs span an entire year. So, like the constellations that determine each horoscope and their reigning period changing each month, Tai Sui’s position in the Chinese astrology chart moves clockwise from one zodiac sign to another each year. 

The animal zodiac sign that aligns with Tai Sui’s position is considered the “ruler” of the year, but it is also the one that confronts Tai Sui. As Tai Sui moves in a circle, there will be three other signs whose positions are close to his, and those animals will also experience varying levels of misfortune that year. 

Chinese Zodiacs Table
Like Westerns’ counterpart, Chinese zodiac consists of 12 signs. However, each sign lasts for a whole year.
Image credit: Pinterest

So, according to Chinese tradition, the zodiac year you were born under is the most unlucky year of your life – and because Tai Sui continues to switch positions annually, you will experience Pee Chong every 12 years and have to be vigilant in checking whether or not your sign is confronting Tai Sui this year. 

So, how do you know when it’s pee chong? You can observe what animal is on every Chinese New Year ornament or card that year, but that’ll only tell you the main misfortuned zodiac sign. 

For the other 3 unlucky zodiac signs of the year, it’s important to take a look at the Chinese Zodiac calendar and see which animals create a red cross on the chart. 

Chinese Zodiacs Table 2021 misfortune
2021 misfortuned zodiacs, highlighted in red, are seen crossed each other on the calendar
Image credit: Pinterest

The position of each animal in the chart reflects the level of conflict they are facing with Tai Sui. The level of contest are as follows:

  • Chong – the most misfortuned (100% unlucky) (Sheep)
  • Kuk – the second most misfortuned (75% unlucky), referred to a zodiac that is directly opposite the most misfortuned zodiac on the Chinese zodiac calendar (Ox)
  • Heng – refers to the zodiac on the right of the most misfortuned zodiac, whose luck will fall (50% unlucky) (Dragon)
  • Pua – refers to the zodiac on the left the most misfortuned zodiac, who will have their health affected (25% unlucky) (Dog)

Which Chinese zodiac are you, and what does it mean?

“So, which Chinese Zodiac was I born under, and what does it mean?”

Sky Stars Timelapse
Image credit: Nico Gruzdev

Put simply, your Chinese Zodiac refers to the animal that confronted Tai Sui according to your birth year under the Chinese lunar calendar. You can check your zodiac sign and its unique characteristics below. 

You should also know that the zodiacs for those born in January and February might slightly differ as Chinese New Year usually moves between 21st January and 20th February of every year.

  • Rat: Intelligence, adaptability, charm, artistry
    • 2020 2008 1996 1984 1972 1960
  • Ox: Reliability, strength, reasonability, determination
    • 2009 1997 1985 1973 1961
  • Tiger: Courage, ambition, leadership, confidence, charisma
    • 2010 1998 1986 1974 1962
  • Rabbit: Trustworthiness, empathy, diplomacy, sincerity
    • 2011 1999 1987 1975 196
  • Dragon: Luckiness, flexibility, eccentricity, imagination, spirituality
    • 2012 2000 1988 1976 1964
  • Snake: Philosophical, organised, intelligent, intuitive, decisive.
    • 2013 2001 1989 1977 1965
  • Horse: Adaptable, ambitious, courageous, intelligent, adventurous
    • 2014 2002 1990 1978 1966
  • Sheep: Tasteful, warm, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm.
    • 2015 2003 1991 1979 1967
  • Monkey: Quick-witted, bright, adaptable, versatile, smart
    • 2016 2004 1992 1980 1968
  • Rooster: Honest, energetic, flexible, intelligent, confident
    • 2017 2005 1993 1981 1969
  • Dog: Loyal, friendly, courageous, diligent, adaptable, smart
    • 2018 2006 1994 1982 1970
  • Pig: Honorable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable
    • 2019 2007 1995 1983 1971

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, the animals highlighted in red are the misfortuned zodiacs this year.

What to do if this year is your year of misfortune?

If this year happens to be your pee chong, don’t panic just yet as it’s not a guarantee that you will be subject to misfortune. Luckily, Chinese tradition offers several steps and recommendations you can take to appease Tai Sui and turn your luck around. 

1. Make offerings to Tai Sui 

If your zodiac offended Tai Sui, then the best way to improve your luck is to get back in his good graces by paying respect to the god of everything himself. 

The first step is to find out where you can find representations of Tai Sui – which, luckily, is at almost all Chinese temples in Thailand. Secondly, you should bring the proper offerings for the god – as told by Chinese traditions – and follow the proper worshipping process.

Thai Chinese TempleChinese temple during Chinese New Year
Image credit: Tourist Bangkok

The essential items and process of paying proper respect

Add these items to your shopping lists as they are essential to paying respect to Tai Sui:

  • Oranges: In Chinese culture, are a symbol of good fortune and represent wealth
  • Lantern Oil: In Chinese culture, people can believe that by refilling the oil lanterns at the temple, good luck will shine brightly upon you.
  • Gold and Silver Papers: In Chinese culture, gold and silver papers represent actual gold and silver and are used as a token of respect and appreciation to Tai Sui.

Once you have all the essentials, it’s time to hit the Chinese temple and follow the pay-respect process is as follows:

  • Gather all the offerings together. Ask the temple for a paper of luck or a red candle, where you can write your name, date of birth and your Chinese zodiac animal. This will help Tai Sui know who it’s from. 
  • Recite the temple’s chant to pay respect to the god.
  • Refill the temple’s lanterns with oil
  • Hold all the offerings up and make a swifting motion away from your body 12 times.
  • Burn the gold and silver papers. 
  • Take the oranges home to eat for good luck.

If you can’t make it to a Chinese temple, Tai Sui also accepts merits in the form of participating in life-saving charities like cattle-sparing or blood donation. According to many beliefs, you can also make merit in a total of nine different temples to boost your luck even further.

2. Avoid going to funerals

According to many Chinese beliefs, those whose zodiacs are experiencing a misfortuned year should avoid attending funerals, or risk financial misfortune. Spirit-crossing ceremonies are filled with otherworldly beings – some benevolent and some not – the Chinese believe that individuals experiencing pee chong are more susceptible to bad energy.  

Thai funeral
Standard Thai funeral ceremony
Image credit: Letters From Angela A

In the event that going to a funeral is unavoidable, you should bring pomegranate sticks to the funeral, and use them to flick water over your head once you get home – this ritual is believed to cleanse you of negative energy.

3. Appease the god of luck

Another way to improve your luck is to appease Cai-Shen, the god of luck, himself. According to Chinese belief, Cai-Shen will only come down to Earth once a year on Chinese New Year. So, you better catch him before CNY ends and present a table laden with fruits and other sweets to a statue or photo of Cai Shen

Cai-Shen, the god of luck
Image credit: Tumblr

Suggested temples

Listed here are four temples most people go on Chinese New Year for good luck and well-being.

Mangkon Kamalawat Temple (Leng Noei Yi Temple)
Opening Hours: 6AM – 5PM
Address: 423 Charoen Krung Rd, Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100
Nearest Train Station: MRT Wat Mangkon
Google Maps

Borom Racha Kanjanapisek Anusorn Temple 
Opening Hours: 6AM – 4PM
Address: 959 Moo 4, Thetsaban 9 Rd, Sano Loi, Bang Bua Thong District, Nonthaburi 11110
Google Maps

Thiphaya Waree Wihan Temple 
Opening Hours: 6AM – 6PM
Address: 119 Thip Wari Alley, Wang Burapha Phirom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200
Nearest Train Station: MRT Sam Yot
Google Maps

Bhoman Khunaram Temple
Opening Hours: 7 AM – 6 PM
Address: SathuPradit Road/Thanon Narathiwat, Soi 24, Bangkok 10120
Nearest Train Station: BTS Chong Nonsri
Google Maps

4. Donate some money to save animals’ lives

Image credit: New Life For Animals Foundation

One of the most popular methods to better your luck is to donate some bucks to save animals’ lives, be it cows, birds, or fish.

Some foundations or institutions, including temples, offer a platform for individuals to donate money. These funds are then utilised to purchase animals from slaughterhouses.

Saving animals’ lives is believed to return good fortune to the donors in the long run.

5. Paying respects at nine temples in a day

Image credit: Yingpook

According to Thai beliefs, the number “9” is a lucky number in Thailand, so Thais believe that paying respect at nine temples in a day is a good way to drive away bad luck and improve your life in the year.

If you live in Bangkok, there are well-known temples you can visit:

These temples are located close to one another, so it’s easy for you to hop around and visit them in a day.

6. Wear clothes with lucky colours

Image credit: Parker Burchfield via Unsplash

Colours of clothing items also play a role when it comes to good luck and bad luck. To choose what colours to wear or avoid depends on your zodiac sign.

Here are the lucky colours for each zodiac sign in 2024:

  • Rat — Yellow, Brown
  • Ox — Pink, White
  • Tiger — Purple, Yellow
  • Rabbit  — Blue, Black
  • Dragon — Red, Yellow
  • Snake — Red, Purple
  • Horse — Red, Orange
  • Goat — Red, Yellow
  • Monkey — Pink, Yellow
  • Rooster — Red, Purple
  • Dog — Green, Grey
  • Pig — Yellow, Blue

However, in 2024, those who were born in the years of Dragon, Dog, Ox, and Rabbit need to avoid some colours.

  • Unlucky colours to avoid for Dragon: Green and Cyan, which counter the Earth element of the Dragon
  • Unlucky colours to avoid for Dog and Ox: Cyan, which clashes with the Earth element of the Dog and Ox
  • Unlucky colours to avoid for Rabbit: White, Gold, Silver, Yellow, and Brown, which are counterproductive for the Wood element

7. Avoid taking a long journey and having fights with people around you

Image credit: Joakim Honkasalo via Unsplash

If you determine that a certain year is an unfortunate year or Peechong for you, it would be advisable to refrain from embarking on lengthy journeys unless necessary. The reason is taking a long journey might lead to an accident. Or, if it’s unavoidable, you might want to do some religious rituals as mentioned above before the journey.

Another thing to avoid is arguments or conflicts with people around you, as it is believed that negative energy generated by disagreements can contribute to a series of unfortunate events.

At-home alternatives for crowd gatherings

“Hey, the situation’s a little difficult right now, I’ll hold off on going to the temple.”

Well, luckily,  it is also possible to pay respect to Tai Tsu and Cai Shen. According to Bangkok Biz News, all you need is a photo of the gods (you can print out one from the internet) and proceed with the process written in the guide above. The only difference is you pay respect to an image of the god at home.

Hope you’re free from any Chinese New Year misfortune

If you have read this far, it seems you hold a strong belief in Chinese New Year misfortune and are eager to find ways to prevent it. So, go ahead and try following these methods. Hopefully, you’ll see improvements in your life this year.

Read more about Thai culture-related articles here: netizens are in love with these ultra-modern spirit houses12 subtle Thai traits only locals do the rest of the world will never understand, and locals see floating heads “flying through Samuit Prakarn houses

Cover images adapted from: ID Skin Expert

The article was originally published by Surachat Chuenchomsakun in February 2021, and last updated by Bank Fasaisirinan in February 2024.



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