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5201314 – China

Chinese Numbers

Many know that Chinese are obsessed with numbers. Well,if you didn’t know – you already know it. Personally,I don’t believe in such things as luck. But well,it is an indeed interesting theme to talk about.
I’ll tell you how Chinese ”read” their numbers and categorize them as either lucky or unlucky numbers. It all depends on how the certain number is pronounced in Chinese. Homophones help them relate them into either for luck,or not.
Basically,their pronunciation has a big role into what Chinese believe in.
From my researches, I found out that there is quite the conflict about the unlucky 13 number for Western cultures. Some say it is unlucky number for Chinese as well. And they avoid giving a thirteenth floor to their buildings. And,some say that it is a lucky number because of the way it’s ”read”. But let’s start counting like an elementary student in order.
Zero [ling]
What to say about the zero,it’s pretty obvious that it has the meaning of ”nothing”. It’s the neutral number. The absolute number and so it’s left aside as a number with no negative and no positive ”energy”.
One [yi]
The number one that puts the beginning it’s like the aggressor in the balance between Yin and Yang. Individual and unlucky because Yang can’t survive without Yin and visa versa. Yin can’t survive without Yang. By the way, now I recalled from my favorite feng-shui, did you know that the woman is basically ‘yin’(the darkness) and the man is ‘yang’(the light)? Of course,not absolutely because in both there is enough of Yin and Yang to keep the balance. Anyway,it’s another topic. Just sneaked it in the right place.

Two [er]

Lucky number,finally. It’s two,considered as balance,stability. Our ‘yang’ coming in synchrone with ‘yin’. There is a Chinese saying ”Good things come in pair.” So,our number two is most likely loved by Chinese. It’s a homophone of the word ‘easy’. You might notice but in some regions there are souvenirs in pair,like, double coin,double elephant – for them it’s like a doubled happiness,luck.

Three [saan]
Another lucky number is three. It’s similar to how you say the character for ‘birth’. It’s the number of communication and understanding. No wonder,there is a great communication in a threesom…okay,that was a joke. Let’s move to the next number.
Four [si]
This number is really able to scare Chinese off. It’s the unlucky four. As a meaning,it holds the great energy of creation and death,all in itself,but since the homophone is nearly as said ‘death’ in Chinese – it’s unlucky. In Hong Kong some buildings skip the fourth floor. And Nokia’s series don’t start with ‘four’,nor any mobile phone. Why do you think CanonPower Shot’s G’s products from G3 skips to G5? Exactly,because it’s unlucky.
Five [wu]
Although with some specific usage,the number is considered as unlucky. Though representing ”me”, it is a homophone to the negative ‘not’. May be this is the main reason why it’s put as an unlucky number. Anyhow, for example,the number 54 is lucky. The combination is ”no death’, or ‘not dead’, so the negative number five can turn another negative number into a lucky number. Interesting,huh? Chinese use numbers as another kind of language. But let’s finish our ”counting” and I will give you some interesting combinations.
Six [liu]
What do you think,is it unlucky? Basically,it holds the homophone of the character for ‘to drop;’to fall’. But in some combinations it is very lucky. The devil’s number ’666′ in China though is the hot lucky combination. Odd,right?
Many will pay for the pattern to have it in their phone number or just to reserve it as ID registration for their cars. It’s related to easy and smooth life.
Seven [qi]
The Heaven’s number,heh? Well,in China it can be unlucky and lucky. Yup, it’s related to spiritual and ghost things. That’s why the seventh month of the Chinese calendar s known as the Ghost month. But well, if you remember the Chinese Valentine’s Day,it’s the seventh month as well,so it can be a lucky number.
Eight [ba]
It’s our lovely lucky number. They love this number since it means prosperity. Also,it’s linked to Buddhism where the Lotus flower has eight petals. Chinese start a new business on the eight day of the month,it’s a lucky charm for them.
The Chinese zodiac that gets the luck is Sheep since it’s the eight in the row.
Nine [jiu]
Nine is the biggest lucky number,it’s linked to the great Emperor of China. His long robe has the great nine dragons engraved on it. According to feng-shui, it’s the Monkey that gets the golden pot. The Chinese mythology says that those nine dragons had nine children. So,many laws are with nine ranked system,as well the nine great punishments that Emperor can use. It symbolizes longlasting harmony for the nation.
• The Olympics in Beijing started in August 8, 2008 at 8PM, 8 minutes and 8 seconds.
• In August (which is the 8th month) 2003, a Chinese airline bought the phone number
“88888888” for about $300,000.
Numbers used as a message:
• 514 – I want to die. Interesting how a Chinese lives in Canada where the are code is 514.
• 3399 – Together for a long time.
• 748 – In mandarin these numbers are stated in certain tones, it has a meaning which roughly translates into: “Why don’t you go die?” This combination is more commonly used as an insult to others, or an indirect death threat. So be careful when writing numbers.
• 88 – Have the meaning of ‘bye-bye’. You’ll meet it a lot in a normal Chinese internet chat.
• 520 – It’s close to how ‘I love you’ in Chinese is pronounced, so it has the ‘Love you’ meaning.
• 1314 – Close to the saying ‘from birth until death’,so you now know the ”code language” saying ”Forever and ever”.
• 5201314 – Let’s play a little,dears. We used two codes and it turned into ‘I love you forever’.
• 510 – And since we are on the ”pink” like mood,here how to say ‘I want you’.
Get lucky
Number Gestures
Above you can see the numbers and how they are gestured in Chinese. For some Singaporean Chinese the number gestures can be different.
To be exact,it’s more or less a numberology. Many people say it finds its root from antique times, so long ago when Egyptian civilisation evoluted. Many years ago,yet now it grips the history of many cultures,including the Chinese’s.
Chinese can throw money just to get some lucky combination of numbers for even the smallest thing. But once a wise man said that everything begins in your mind. So,getting positive and seeing things this way,it can’t harm anyone. After all,we believe in different things,things we want to believe in. So,get positive and learn how to say ”520” .
I approve this message and I am out. See you on my next article.

0 2 3310 31 March, 2012 Chinese Culture, Culture & Tradition March 31, 2012

About the author

''What a foolish choice...'',said Zen. Just another lost mind,drown in Asian world.

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  1. avatar

    ahh 4 is such a very unlucky number, no wonder that my fr’s iphone 4 broke like hell after falling from the 1st floor (did it really relate? xDDD and nomber 1 unlucky again LOL)
    such an interesting topic, 7h4nk f0r 7he 4r71c1e ^__^

  2. avatar

    My birth date = 5
    My $$ number = 5
    The number 5 has come up many many times in my life.
    What is the significance of double 5 ?
    Do I need to go to : Hong Kong Chinatown NYC or San Francisco for an answer ?


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