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Encyclopedia > Numbers in Chinese culture

In Chinese culture, certain numbers are believed by some to be auspicious (吉利) or inauspicious (不利) based on the Chinese word that the number name sounds similar to. However some Chinese people regard these beliefs to be superstitions. Since the pronunciation and the vocabulary may vary greatly in different Chinese dialects, the rules are not generally applicable for all cases. Chinese culture has roots going back over five thousand years. ... For other uses, see Superstition (disambiguation). ...


Because of the supposed auspiciousness of certain numbers, some people will often choose, attempt to obtain, or pay large sums for numbers that are considered to be lucky for their phone numbers, street addresses, residence floor (in a multi-storey building), driver's license number, vehicle license plate number, bank account number, etc.

Contents

Numbers and their perceived qualities

1 -


2 - - easy


3 - - live


4 - - considered a bad omen, since 4 in the Chinese and the overall Buddhist worldviews, refers to the fourth stage of human existence: death (). Historically, 4 is considered lucky in regions of China where its pronunciation is closer to instead.


5 - - the self, me, myself, nothing


6 - - easy and smooth, salary and wages


7 - - together


8 - - sudden fortune


9 - - "long" in reference to time


Lucky numbers

Lucky numbers are based on Chinese words that sound similar to other Chinese words. The numbers 6, 8, and 9 are believed to have auspicious meanings because their names sound similar to words that have positive meanings. Look up six in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up eight in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about the number. ...


One

The number 1 Can represent unity. 168 being "to continue being prosperous" (see below). ‹ The template below is being considered for deletion. ...


Two

The number 2 (二, èr) is a good number in Chinese culture. There is a Chinese saying "good things come in pairs". It is common to use double symbols in product brandnames, e.g. double happiness, double coin, double elephants etc. Cantonese speaking people like the number two because it sounds the same as the word "easy" (易) in Cantonese. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ...


Four

The number 4 is considered lucky in some regions of China where it is homonymous in the local dialect to the word "事" (job, business, or task). When the number 4 is encountered during a celebration, people would often remark "四四如意", which would also refer to "事事如意" (Everything done as wished); however, it is more commonly seen as bad luck in modern times, especially in dialects where its pronunciation is homonymic to the word "death" (死). This article discusses the number Four. ...


Six

The number 6, pronounced "liu", sounds like the word for "flowing", "smooth" or "slippery" which can mean "everything goes smoothly". Look up six in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


The number 666 is considered one of the luckiest numbers. It can be seen prominently in many shop windows across the country, and people there often pay extra to get a mobile phone number including this string of digits. Coincidentally, that number is considered to be demonic in Western culture, as it is the Number of the Beast. 666 is the natural number following 665 and preceding 667. ... For this articles equivalent regarding the East, see Eastern culture. ... The Number of the Beast is a concept from the Book of Revelation of the New Testament of the Christian Bible. ...


License plate number AW6666 was bought for 272,000 yuan (US$34,000) in an auction by an anonymous bidder on behalf of a motorcycle dealership in Zengcheng, Guangzhou.[1] // Introduction A license plate, number plate or registration plate (often referred to simply as a plate, or colloquially tag) is a small metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle for official identification purposes. ... Guangzhou is the capital and the sub-provincial city of Guangdong Province in the southern part of the Peoples Republic of China. ...


Seven

The number 7 symbolizes "togetherness". This is shown in the Chinese mythology of Cowherd and Weaver Girl. The seventh day of the seventh month is The Night of Sevens. Seven Days of Creation - 1765 book, title page 7 (seven) is the natural number following 6 and preceding 8. ... Qi Qiao Jie (乞巧节, The Festival to Plead for Skills), sometimes called Chinese Valentines Day, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the Chinese calendar and thus is also known as Double Seven Day. ... Qi Xi (七夕; Pinyin: qī xì; The Night of Sevens), sometimes called Chinese Valentines Day, falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the Chinese calendar and thus its name. ...


Eight

The word for "eight" in Chinese (Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means "fortune", "prosper" or "wealth" (, Pinyin: fā). In regional dialects the words for "eight" and "fortune" are also similar, eg Cantonese "baat" and "faat". Look up eight in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... For the business meaning, see Wealth (economics). ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Standard Cantonese is a variant, and is generally considered the prestige dialect of Cantonese Chinese. ...


There is also a resemblance between two digits, "88", and the shuang xi ('double joy'), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (xi, 'joy', 'happiness'). A shop window in Seattle decorated with a form of shuang xi design Shuag xi (囍; Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: ; literally, double joy or double happiness) is a Chinese ornamental design ligature composed of two Chinese characters å–œ (xi, joy), compressed to assume the square shape of a standard Chinese character...


Some people also think that 8 can be associated with the symbol meaning infinity (an 8 turned 90 degrees).


Telephone number 8888-8888 was sold for USD$270,723 in Chengdu, China. A telephone number is a sequence of decimal digits that uniquely indicates the network termination point. ... The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States. ...   (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Cheng-tu), located in southwest China, is the capital of Sichuan province and a sub-provincial city. ...


The Summer Olympics in Beijing are scheduled to open on 8/8/08 at 8:08:08 p.m.[2] The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, were awarded to Beijing, China after an exhaustive ballot of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 13, 2001. ...


A man in Hangzhou offered to sell his license plate reading A88888 for 1.12 million yuan.[2]   (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; Postal map spelling: Hangchow) is a sub-provincial city located in the Yangtze River Delta in the Peoples Republic of China, and the capital of Zhejiang province. ... // Introduction A license plate, number plate or registration plate (often referred to simply as a plate, or colloquially tag) is a small metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle for official identification purposes. ... It has been suggested that Chinese yuan be merged into this article or section. ...


Dragon Fish Industry in Singapore, a breeder of rare Asian Arowanas (which are "lucky fish" themselves, and, being a rare species, are required to be microchipped), makes sure to use numbers with plenty of eights in their microchip tag numbers, and appears to reserve particularly numbers especially rich in eights and sixes (e.g. 702088880006688) for particularly valuable specimens.[3][4] Binomial name Müller and Schlegel, 1844 Asian arowana refers to several varieties of freshwater fish in the genus Scleropages. ... A microchip is an identifying integrated circuit placed under the skin of a dog, cat, or other animal. ...


Nine

The number 9 (jiu), sounds like the word for "longlasting" (久 pinyin jiǔ). This article is about the number. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ...


Combinations

54 - in Cantonese: 'ng sei' sounds like 'm sei' - not die; in Mandarin, sounds like "I die"


59 - sounds like the Cantonese for "not long", i.e. "short-lived" and therefore unlucky.


168 - road of prosperity or to be prosperous together - many charged telephone service numbers in China begin with this number. Many businesses also prefer to have this number as part of their names.


518 - I will prosper, other variations include: 5189 (I will prosper for a long time), 516289 (I will get on a long, smooth prosperous road) and 5918 (I will soon prosper).


520 - I love you (我愛你), as the pronunciation of "520" is close to "我愛你" (in Mandarin).


666 - In Chinese culture, 666 sounds a lot like the words 'Things going smoothly'. It is considered one of the luckiest numbers in Chinese culture. It can be seen prominently in many shop windows across the country, and people there often pay extra to get a mobile phone number including this string of digits. 666 is the natural number following 665 and preceding 667. ...


888 - prosperity x3.


1314 - Forever and for eternity (一生一世),as the pronunciation of "1314" is close to "一生一世" (in Mandarin).


5201314 - I Love You Forever and for eternity.


Unlucky numbers

Four

Main article: Tetraphobia

Number 4 (四; accounting 肆; pinyin ) is considered an unlucky number in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese cultures because it sounds like the word "death" (死 pinyin ). Due to that, many numbered product lines skip the "4": e.g. Nokia cell phones (there is no series beginning with a 4), Palm PDAs, the Leisure Suit Larry games, Canon PowerShot G's series (after G3 goes G5), etc. In East Asian, some buildings do not have a 4th floor. (Compare with the American practice of some buildings not having a 13th floor because 13 is considered unlucky.) In Hong Kong, some high-rise residential buildings miss ALL floor numbers with "4", e.g. 4, 14, 24, 34 and all 40-49 floors. As a result, a building with 50th as the highest floor may actually have 36. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article discusses the number Four. ... Today, speakers of Chinese use three numeral systems: There is the ubiquitous system of Arabic digits and two ancient Chinese numeral systems. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Numerology is an arcane study of the purported mystical relationship between numbers and the character or action of physical objects and living things. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... This article is about the telecommunications corporation. ... Cellular redirects here. ... palmOnes Logo palmOne, Inc. ... Look up Personal digital assistant in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail! Leisure Suit Larry is the title character of a series of adult adventure games written by Al Lowe and published by Sierra On-Line from the 1980s to the present. ... Front view of PowerShot G3 The Powershot Gx is a series of digital cameras released by Canon. ...


Number 14 is considered to be one of the unluckiest numbers in Chinese culture. Although 14 is usually said as "shi si," which sounds like "ten die", it can also be said as "yi si" or "yao si", literally "one four". Thus, 14 can also be said as "yao si," literally "one four," but it also means "want to die" (要死 pinyin yào sǐ). In Cantonese, 14 sounds like "sap6 sei3", which sounds like "sat6 sei2" meaning "certainly die" (實死). 14 (fourteen) is the natural number following 13 and preceding 15. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ...


53 - In Cantonese, "ng5 saam1" sounds like "m4 sang1 (唔生)" - "not live".


Five

Although it can represent "me" (我,pinyin ), it is usually associated with "not" (无/無,pinyin ). If used for the negative connotation it can become good by using it with a negative. 54 being "not die" or "no death". If used for the positive it can be used as a possessive. 528 is a way of saying "no easy fortune for me". Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ...


Six

Six in Cantonese which has a similar pronunciation to that of "luk6" (落) - to drop, fall or decline may form unlucky combinations.


Seven

Seven is considered spiritual or ghostly. The seventh month of the Chinese calendar is also called the "Ghost Month". See Ghost Festival for more detail. During this month, the gates of hell are said to be open so ghosts and spirits are permitted visit the living realm. It is not commonly associated with luck. The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, incorporating elements of a lunar calendar with those of a solar calendar. ... The Ghost Festival (Traditional Chinese: 中元節 or 盂蘭節; pinyin: zhōng yuán jié, and sometimes called 盂蘭盆; pinyin: yulanpen) is a traditional Chinese festival/holiday, which is celebrated by Chinese in many countries. ...


Combinations

9413 - "九死一生" ("Giu Si Yi Sheng" in Cantonese), meaning 90% chance of being dead and only 10% chance of being alive.


In Hong Kong, seven and nine both have similar pronunciations to two of "the five most insulting words" in Cantonese - the male genital. Six in Cantonese also has a similar pronunciation to an impolite word which is used to count the number of cylindrical objects. Therefore, 167, 169, 1679 and other creative combinations (such as the famous "on-99") are dirty jokes in Hong Kong culture.


References

  1. ^ Craving lucky numbers in daily life source: China Daily
  2. ^ a b "Numbers game in China" by Jim Yardley, The New York Times, published July 4, 2006
  3. ^ "DFI captive bred EMERALD BLUE Cross backs and Bukit Merah Blue Cross backs with Special Golden Tag Numbers for good luck"
  4. ^ "The One & Only - Arowana King & Platinum Xback"

It has been suggested that China Daily Hong Kong Edition be merged into this article or section. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. ... is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Chinese number gestures refers to the Chinese method of using one hand to signify the natural numbers one through ten. ... Numerology is any of many systems, traditions or beliefs in a mystical or esoteric relationship between numbers and physical objects or living things. ... This article is about fortune. ... Chinese numerals are characters for writing numbers in Chinese. ... For contemporary culture after 1949, see Culture of the Peoples Republic of China. ...

External links

  • Numbers game in China
  • Craving lucky numbers in daily life
  • Number four not so deadly for Chinese
  • The Number Eight And The Chinese
  • Lucky numbers and role in Chinese practice of gift giving between business partners

 
 

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