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Lucky Number in China


Auspicious numbers have long played a part in Chinese culture -- witness the 9,999 rooms of Beijing's Forbidden City -- and the right digits can still play a role in the choice of a home, telephone number or even a birthday.


Even numbers are luckier than odd. Two suggests harmony, six smooth progresses. Four, a homonym for death, is unlucky, while nine, as highest single digit, stands for longevity.


Eight, though, is the luckiest of all. The pronunciation of the number eight is similar to the character 'faat' in Cantonese, which means prosperity, money and status. Back down south in Hong Kong, businessmen have paid huge sums for personalized car registration and in the 1990s the number '8' license plate was sold for HK$5 million (343,308 pounds).


"This opinion was mostly held by people in Guangdong province before, but after the reform and opening up about 20 years ago, it is popular all over the country with the movement of population becoming easier and faster."


It is surely no coincidence that the Games of the XXIX Olympiad opened at 8pm local time on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008.




Although the current numerological superstitions originated in the south of China, there is plenty evidence of their hold in the north.


In Beijing, a hefty premium is paid for telephone numbers with plenty of eights, while apartments on the eighth floor are much coveted. Fourth floors, in name at least, rarely exist.


Apartment blocks designed to appeal to western buyers and prosperous Chinese often register no floors four, 13 and 14.


Expectant mothers in China are known to pick the dates of Caesareans carefully in order to endow their offspring with the luckiest birth date possible.

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