Chinese Lucky Numbers And Unlucky Numbers

Chinese lucky number and unlucky number, do you know it? In Chinese culture certain numbers are considered “lucky” because their pronunciations sound similar to words that have “lucky” meanings. Lucky numbers are very important in Chinese culture. People select lucky numbers when choosing residences, telephone numbers, business addresses, wedding dates, festivals and other celebratory events.

The Olympic 2008 started the opening ceremony on August 8, 2008 at 8:08? It is because the number 8 is a lucky number and people believe it will bring good luck. We will take a look at lucky and unlucky numbers in Chinese culture. Lucky number in Chinese culture  2  6  8  9; Unlucky number 4.

The number 2 (二 or 两, Pinyin: èr or liăng)

Chinese lucky numbers and unlucky numbers The number 2  is most often considered a good number in Chinese culture.   Two usually with the meaning of ‘double’, ‘twinned’ and ‘again’. It is an auspicious number in Chinese culture, because Chinese people believe that ‘good things come in pairs ( 好事成双, hàoshì chéngshuāng) ’.

It is common to use double symbols in product brand names, such as double happiness, double coin and double elephants. For wedding ceremonies, according to the custom of ancient Chinese marriage, people will decorate gates and windows with a paper-cut 囍 (meaning double happiness).

Bi Yi Shuang Fei

              Bi Yi Shuang Fei


double happiness

 Double happiness

There are many congratulatory and complimentary phrases with the auspicious meaning of 2. For instance, ‘比翼双飞 Bi Yi Shuang Fei’ (Shuang meaning double), literally means flying wing to wing, which is the best wishes to remain a devoted couple to the end of their lives; ‘才貌双全Cai Mao Shuang Quan’ is used to describe a person to be pretty and also talented. When giving names to children, it’s also common to include the word ‘Shuang’ for luck. Also, in many areas of China, it is a custom to send duplicate gifts when married women visit their parents.

In Northern China, the number, when used as an adjective, mostly negative, can also mean “stupid”.二 (Two) pronounced ‘Er’ in Chinese is used as an adjective to ironically describe those who are intemperate, reckless, or intrepid. So when someone says you are Er or Er Bai Wu (Two Hundred and Fifty), it is not a word of praise.

The number 6 (六, Pinyin: liù)

Chinese lucky numbers and unlucky numbers The number 6 is considered very lucky, “six” is pronounced “liu” in Mandarin Chinese, and has a sound byte close to the sound byte for the Mandarin Chinese word which means “flowing, smooth, or frictionless”.

Chinese people take Six (六) as a fortunate number mainly meaning smooth or well-off. In Chinese “六六大顺 (liùliù dàshùn)” means that everything is going smoothly. In choosing the telephone numbers and the vehicle identification numbers, people often prefer a number including 6. When a person comes across his or her 66th birthday, it should be grandly celebrated, as Chinese people hold a generally-accepted opinion that if a person lives to 66 years old, he is doomed to be longevous.

Lucky number 8 ( 八, Pinyin: bā)

Chinese lucky numbers and unlucky numbers   The number 8  (八 Pinyin: bā) is considered extremely lucky, sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth” (发 – often paired with “发财” during Chinese New Year, but is used alone or paired with numerous other “compound words” that have a meaning of luck or success, Pinyin: fā). In regional dialects the words for “eight” and “fortune” are also similar, e.g., Cantonese “baat” and “faat”. Note as well, this particular symbol matches the mathematical symbol of infinity.

While Chinese does have other words for luck, this full understanding of luck that includes the infinity concept marries into a Chinese understanding of this particular word. When people choose telephone numbers, mobile numbers, house numbers, car identification numbers and important dates, 8 is usually the first choice. The popularity of 8 was obvious in relation to the Beijing Olympic Games which commenced at exactly eight o’clock eight minutes on the eighth day of the eighth month in 2008.

In modern China, numerical lingo has been very popular especially on the internet. For instance, 518 with the approximate pronunciation with Wo Yao Fa, meaning I want to be very wealthy. 88, with the Chinese pronunciation Ba Ba Liu like bye-bye in English, is frequently used during the instant chat on the internet to say ‘good-bye’ or ‘see you later’.  

Lucky number 9  (九, Pinyin: jiŭ)

Chinese lucky numbers and unlucky numbers Although even numbers are generally considered luckier than the odd numbers, one odd number, the 9, is considered especially propitious. The number 9 has the same pronunciation with 久 (Jiu, meaning everlasting). On the Valentine’s Day, a man usually presents his lover 99 or 999 roses to symbolize the eternal love. Similarly, according to the traditional Chinese marriage custom, the bridegroom has to give a Red Packet to his bride’s family, in which CNY 9,999 or CNY 99,999 is enclosed to bless a long-lasting marriage of the couple. Lots of young people get married in1999.

The number 9 has traditionally been associated with the emperor (viz. the number of 9,999 rooms in the Forbidden City) and partly owing to the fact that the sound byte for “nine” is close to that for the word “longlasting”.

Unlucky number 4  (四, Pinyin: sì)

10The number 4  is generally disliked by Chinese people just as 13 is in the western world. This is because Four is pronounced Si in Chinese, the same as 死 (death). Therefore, many buildings, especially hotels don not set the fourth, fourteenth and twenty-fourth floors and other floors with 4. When choosing the telephone numbers and the vehicle identification numbers, many people would avoid number 4.

Tell us lucky number and unlucky number in your culture!