Tai Sui has been seen as an ill-omened star since ancient times. The Tai Sui Star Gods are worshiped at the beginning of every Chinese New Year for blessings for a smooth year to come. This ritual is most commonly known as “An Tai Sui”, meaning to propitiate the Tai Sui General. At end of the year, the Tai Sui General is thanked and taken off the altar, this ritual is known as “Hsieh Tai Sui”, meaning to thank and send off the Tai Sui General for the prior year’s blessings.
An Tai Sui is a part of the life experience of many families in Taiwan. But why are these traditions still followed? Tai Sui is the Tai Sui General of the current year. As legend describes, there are 60 Tai Sui Generals that reflect the Chinese 60-year stem-branch cycle. The Tai Sui General for a particular year is the one with the highest power, and those with the zodiac signs that stands opposite to that year are said to be at great risk of bad luck.
For example, if this year is the year of the Dragon, then people whose zodiac sign is the Monkey will need to ask for blessings. Similarly, if this year is the year of Tiger, then those whose zodiac is the Monkey will need to ask for blessings. People go to the Tai Sui Temple to light a Tai Sui Lamp or put a Tai Sui Charm in their home in order to ask blessings for a smooth year to come.