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Lucky Numbers

Like everyone else in the world, the Chinese believe that some numbers are lucky whilst others are unlucky. Like a lot of Chinese superstitions, it often has to do with the pronunciation of the word. Lucky numbers are a big industry in China, where people can choose their own telephone number. Auspicious telephone numbers can get very expensive.

Chinese Lucky Numbers: 8

Eight is the luckiest number of all – because it sounds like the Chinese word for prosperity. House numbers and telephone numbers with the number eight in are extremely sought after, and the Beijing Olympics are due to start on 08/08/2008 at 8pm. The people at online casino 888.com certainly knew what they where doing when they chose the address. The Chinese pronunciation of eight, is ‘ba’, so 88 could be ‘baba’, which sounds like ‘bye bye’, so ‘88’ is used to mean ‘goodbye’ online.

Number 4 is the most unlucky in China

The number four is not very popular at all, because it sounds like the Chinese word for death. Consequently, the fourth floor is usually the cheapest floor to live on – and is often occupied by foreigners who don’t understand the connotations of the number four.

Chinese Lucky Numbers: 9

The number nine is fairly lucky, because it sounds like the word for ‘a long time’, and is hence associated with longevity. Every year the 9th of September (9/9) is the day for the ‘Old People’s Festival’, just like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, but specifically for old people.

Chinese Lucky Numbers: 2, 6 and 7

The number two is more lucky than not, because it suggests the idea of harmonious coexistence, and to some extent, reproduction.

The number six is also very lucky, because the pronunciation sounds like the word for ‘flow’, suggesting that everything will go very smoothly. The car licence plate ‘AC6688’ recently sold for 80,000Y.

The number seven was traditionally not very lucky, and was associated with anger, but it’s had something of a renaissance in recent years because it sounds a little bit like ‘wife’ or ‘family’.

Chinese lucky numbers: Giving flowers

When giving flowers, it’s best to give either one, two, three or nine. One means that the lucky lady is your one true love, two means that all you need is for the two of you to be together, three represents the words ‘I love you’ and nine means that your love will be forever.

Chinese Telephone Number Games

When Chinese people choose telephone numbers, there’s another game to be played as well – you can string together numbers which sound like words to form sentences.

0 – sounds like ‘you’
1 – sounds like ‘want’ or ‘will
2 – sounds like ‘love’
4 –sounds like ‘death’
5 – sounds like ‘I’ or ‘none’
6 – sounds like ‘smoothly’
7 – sounds like ‘family’, ‘wife’ or ‘together’
8 – sounds like ‘prosperity’ (or ‘get rich’)
9 – sounds like ‘a long time’ (or ‘forever’)

So a very romantic telephone number would end in ‘5257’ – ‘I love my wife’, and an up and coming businessman might choose ‘518’ – ‘I will get rich’. Someone in a hurry to get married might choose ‘517’ – ‘I want a wife’, but the man who chose ‘51574’ might not be very popular at home for a very long time.

Recommended Chinese culture articles:

Traditional Chinese Architecture: Evolution and History, Chinese Siheyuan Courtyards

Chinese Religion: How To Tell Chinese Temples Apart, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism

Beijing Arts: Chinese Opera, Acrobatics, Tai Chi, Chinese Gardens

Beijing Society: Er Nai, Lucky Numbers, Chinese Etiquette, Drugs in China

Chinese History: Chairman Mao Zedong, Eunuchs, Chinese Emperors, Ancient History Timeline, Concubines, 20th Century Timeline


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