The Chinese’s Worshipping of Numbers

imagesHere is a little blog for practicing your Chinese as well as learning a bit about the culture of Numbers in China!  
The Chinese are famous for their valuation system on different numbers which originated from ancient times and is still relevant in modern times, their explanations still continue to produce new meanings.


中国人最喜欢的数字就是“8”了。数字“8”真正受欢迎是因为它的发音和“发财”的“发”很像。发财就是变得有钱,谁不想变得有钱呢? 擅长做生意的广东人最早发现了这个有意思的事情。于是,能让人发财的“8”开始在中国流行起来。为了得到一个有“8”的手机号、车牌或地址,人们愿意花更多的钱。所以,我们常常听到,有人在拍卖会上拿出几百万,只是为了一个幸运的号码。重要的活动人们也会选择在有“8”的日期举行,最好的例子就是:2008年北京奥运会的开幕时间就是8月8日8点8分8秒。我还听说,香港有一些大楼,无论它有多少层,最高层就叫第88层。
The Chinese’s favourite number is 8 (ba). The number 8 is favoured and popular because it has a similar pronunciation to fa  (发) of facai(发财). The definition of Facai is fortune or to be rich and doesn’t everyone want to be rich? This originated from the Cantonese who were very good with running businesses, and thus the fortune of the number 8 gained popularity throughout China. Paying more for a number 8 in your cell phone, car and room number is not uncommon. Particularly at auctions, purchases could sell for several millions due to the association with this lucky number. Important events are also held on the 8th. The 2008 Beijing Olympics is a good example, the opening ceremonies were held on August 8th at 8:8:8. In Hong Kong, some towers call their highest floor the 88th floor, no matter how many floors the building contains.
The pronunciation of the number 6 (liu) is similar to 流(liu) of 流水(liushui) which means running water and liu is shun 顺 which represents down flow or fairness. Thus the number 6 is thought to bring you smooth success. It is also very favoured for cell phone numbers, car and room numbers. Stock buyers also aim to buy 6 shares because it sounds like niu in 很牛 (henniu) which translates to very cool and the niu means bull, and bull markets (a period of rising share prices) are favoured. Similar to August 8th, June 6th and August 6th are good dates to hold weddings and other important events. There are many various dates with these numbers in a year, the more lucky numbers in the date, the better! Although the number 8 is viewed to be luckier than the number 6. 
Now something about the unlucky numbers, good numbers and bad number are distinguished by their homophonic qualities. Evidently, 4 (si) is a bad number because it sounds like 死 (si) which means dead. The cheapest cell phone numbers always contains many 4’s, so if you are not superstitious you could potentially save a lot on your phone number. Hotels also won’t have the room numbers that contain 4 and same with floors in a building which is very similar to westerns and their adversity with the number 13.
The Chinese are very careful with the 3 numbers mentioned. They also have meanings for other numbers as well. The number 9 (jiu) means long time and forever, 10 (shi) means perfect or completion and 7 (qi) sounds like 吃 (chi) so many restaurants have 7’s in their telephone number. The number 2 (er) can be twice the good deed, in other words it is better to give 2 gifts if you were planning on sending one. On a wedding day putting 2 喜’s (happy and good) on the wall can double the 囍 (xi).  


 In-Depth-China      CSA-blog


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