Why Is the Number 13 Lucky?

Implications of numbers for Chinese


Chinese are obsessed with numbers.

You'll be surprised to see how they are willing to part with tens or even hundred of thousands of dollars, simply to tender for car number plates of lucky numbers.

This happens not only in Chinese cities in the mainland China like Shanghai, but also other cities like Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Do not try competing for numbers such as 8. Chances are that to be out-beaten, if your pocket is not deep enough.

Implications of numbers

Chinese like link numbers to pronunciations of associated words.

For example, the number 8 is tremendously popular, because it is pronounced as 'fa', which is how words like prosperity (发) and fortune (发财) are pronounced.

As a result, when they see the number 8, there will associate it with prosperity and fortune.

9 is another lucky number, which can mean enough or arrive. 6 is popular as well, as it implies happy and smooth.

The number 7 is popular for some as it sounds like complete. In Mandarin, it can also mean wife. So 517 can mean 'I want a wife'; as 5 sounds like 'I' and 1 sounds like 'want' in Mandarin.

Other numbers are difficult to generalize. It depends on whether the person is interpreting them from Mandarin or dialect.

In addition, numbers can also viewed from other angles.

For example, 18 is popular because the number 1 when it is in the position of tens sounds like 'definite'. 18, which is pronounced as shiba in Mandarin, becomes 'definitely prosperous' and so is also tremendously popular. On the other hand, some may see 18 as '1 plus 8', which adds up to the lucky number 9.

Avoid the number 4 nevertheless. It is thought to be unlucky for some. This is because it sounds like death in Mandarin and several dialects.

Why Is the Number 13 Lucky to the Chinese

The number 13 is considered unlucky for many people in the West.

This is not the case among many Chinese.

It goes by the same reasoning.

The digit 1 when it is in the position of tens sounds like the word 'definite' (shi or 实) in Mandarin and dialects such as Cantonese; while the digit 3 sounds like life, living or birth (生)

As a result, 13, which is pronounced as shisan in Mandarin, can mean 'definitely vibrant'.

So how can this be an unlucky number?

Read more about the Chinese culture.

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