In China, there are Chinese lucky numbers and there are Chinese UN-lucky numbers. And it's more than simple superstition.
This store sells Chinese mobile phone numbers.
It will cost you extra if you want double 8's or triple 6's
in your phone number. But hey, with all
that extra luck, you can afford it right?
Many aspects of daily life in China is based on these numbers. Every business carefully selects it's phone number so that it contains lucky numbers.
What makes the numbers so lucky? Partly it's based on the sound of the number.
For example, when you say certain numbers, the sound is similar to positive words in the Chinese language (fortune, wealth, and so on). These numbers are very lucky numbers indeed.
The luckiest number of all is 8. Why? Because when you say the word eight in Chinese, it sounds like the Chinese word for prosperity.
In August 2003, a Chinese airline bought the phone number “88888888.” for about $300,000. Why? Because it's lucky!
What do you notice about this pizza advertisement?
Yes, the phone number has eights. Did you notice the green company slogan directly below the phone number? Here's the interesting thing -- that slogan sounds very similar to the spoken digits of the phone number.
It's like a pun, except with numbers!
And whenever you select your phone number, license plate number, etc., you can usually pay more to get a lucky number.
Let's just say it takes some people a long, long time to select their lucky Chinese lottery numbers.
In China, you can find Chinese lucky numbers everywhere when you start to look for them. My favorite Dim Sum place has several private rooms. They didn't number them 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8.
It's not very lucky.
Instead, the rooms are numbered 808, 818, 828, 838, 848, 858, 868, 878, 888. Now that's LUCKY!
I've also spotted hotels that place an eight in front of each room number. So if you're on the fourth floor, you room might be #403...at a normal hotel, that is. At this Chinese hotel, though, you'd be in #8403.
Because 4 is a terribly unlucky number in China. Four is not on the list of Chinese lucky numbers. When you say the word four in Chinese, it sounds like you are saying the word "death".
As a tourist, I often landed in the fourth floor at hotels. Because the hotel staff knows that tourists are not wise to the superstitions about the number four. They don't care about the floor number, they just want a room.
And some Chinese people prefer to avoid the fourth floor. Just like some people get nervous about the thirteenth floor.
Yes, the elevator goes from 3 directly to 5. Some skyscrapers have to skip all the 40's...you go from 39 directly to 50.
Even while looking at apartments in China, the agents kept showing me apartments on the fourth floor. Or with lots of 4's in the apartment number.
I could only guess that those apartments weren't renting because of the number four. Otherwise most of them seemed nice.
In March 2003, Beijing banned all license plates ending in the number four!
14 is very unlucky on it's own, but if there is a 13 in front...then that changes the meaning completely.
And once you bring the Chinese horoscope, the I-Ching, feng shui and even reflexology into the picture...well, let's just say it takes people a long, long time to select their lucky lottery numbers.
Here are some other Chinese lucky numbers:
And unlucky numbers:
Especially when just across the USA border are all those lucky citizens of Schaghticoke, NY. They were blessed with area code 518!
What's Chinese digitalk and how can you use it to talk with your Chinese friends?