In Chinese culture, Ben Ming Nian, otherwise known as an individual’s zodiac year of birth, refers to years sharing the same Chinese zodiac sign with one’s birth year. Twelve zodiac animal years are regarded as a cycle in the Chinese lunar calendar, and so every twelve years, an individual will encounter their Ben Ming Nian.
In folklore, it is a very popular superstition that people’s zodiac year of birth is unlucky, so it is also called Threshold Years, which means a year with a lot of obstacles in life. Generally speaking, there are more and greater changes associated with the Chinese zodiac year of birth, as it falls so infrequently in one’s life and so significant change is inevitable. For some, they may face adversity, however, Ben Ming Nian is not always ominous, for people are also offered challenges and opportunities.
In entering 2021, we begin the year of the Ox (the year of change, some have dubbed it), which symbolizes diligence, persistence and honesty. Looking back at the last time we were graced with this zodiac year, in 2009, we remember significant and poignant events such as the swearing in of the 44th President of the United States, in the form of Barack Obama (with Joe Biden assuming the role of Vice President), the impact of the Great Recession and H1N1 flu being declared a global pandemic in over 208 countries by the end of the year, to note but just a few. These events, amongst many other significant and traumatic events, whether natural disasters, violent acts or acts of warfare, were also joined by acts of progress such as the first International Day of Climate Action, the legalization of same-sex marriage in Sweden and several appointments of women in senior political positions.
We do not mean to bring attention to some of these sombre events for any other reason however, than to reflect upon the vast change and journey that we have been on globally since 2009. These events remind us that no matter how great the challenges are that we face, such as those met in 2020 and those that will no doubt further impact us as we move into 2021, there is a road ahead and peace, change and balance, more often than not, inevitably can be restored.
Bringing relevance to our collaboration of global family offices, in the form of the Wigmore Association, we like to nod to such cultural events and believe that the Chinese symbolisms and characteristics attached to 2021 ring rather true. When looking ahead and forecasting what this year of change may bring, strength, caution and an industrious attitude will undoubtedly be required, as we continue to ride with the turbulent and ever-changing landscapes, both financially, politically and in our personal lives around the globe.
For us at the Wigmore Association, our ongoing commitment and joint purpose, to work together to help families of wealth thrive, remains unchanged and we wish everyone good fortune, prosperity and wellness in the year ahead. May 2021 see balance restored.