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!  
 
国人对数字的崇拜是世界闻名的。从古代到现代,中国人一直没有停止对数字的崇拜,而且总是产生新的理解。
 
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.
 
数字“6”的发音和“流水”的“流”很像,“流”也是“顺”,人们认为“6”能带来顺利。人们也希望“6”能出现在他们的电话号码、车牌或地址里。买股票的人最希望买到有“6”的股票,因为“6”不仅顺利,而且听起来像“牛”,牛市当然是大家最想看到的。像8月8日、6月6日、8月6日等等都是很适合举行婚礼和宴会的日子。当然,一年中这样的日子有很多,幸运数字越多就越好。根据我的经验,“8”比“6”更加吉利一点。
 
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. 
 
说了幸运数字,接下来说说不幸运的数字。中国人喜欢根据谐音来看数字的好坏。很明显,数字“4”肯定不是好数字,因为“4”就是“死”。我第一次买手机号的时候,发现最便宜的号码就是那些有很多“4”的号码。如果你觉得这个不重要,那就可以省下不少钱。饭店里面,一般没有4号房间;大楼里面,没有4层、14层、24层……就像西方人尽可能避开“13”一样,中国人会尽可能避开“4”。
 
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.
 
对以上这三个数字,中国人比较仔细。当然,中国人对其他数字也有自己的理解,比如:“9”象征“长久”;“10”象征“完整”和“完美”;“7”听起来像“吃”,所以有些饭店的电话号码里面有“7″;“2”可以表示两倍的好事,也就是说,人们送礼物的时候如果能送两份,那就更加吉利;结婚的时候,要在墙上挂双“喜”的“囍”字,可以让“喜”变成两倍。
 
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).  
 
 

READ MORE

 In-Depth-China      CSA-blog

 

  • Beijing

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    3610 Capital Mansions,
    6 Xinyuan Nan Road, Chaoyang
    Beijing, 100027
    Phone: (+86) 10 8468 3799 
  • London

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    154 Bishopsgate
    London EC2M 4LN
    United Kingdom
    Phone: (+44) 0207 377 84 
  • Hong Kong

    China Study Abroad Ltd
    Rm 604-7 Dominion Centre
    43-59 Queen’s Road East
    Hong Kong
    Phone: (+852) 800 968 924 

Community

y-icon
f-grey t-grey

Our Newsletter