hkvibes : Chinese lucky numbers

June 25, 2008
Chinese lucky numbers

In the Chinese culture, even numbers are rather considered as feminine numbers whereas uneven numbers are considered as being masculine. Each number more or less has an associated signification, usually because of similarities in the pronunciation.

Three (Cantonese: “saam“) : this number is often associated with life and longevity because of a phonetic similarity with the word “life“.

Eight (Cantonese: “baat“) : this number is associated with fortune since its pronunciation sounds like “bringing in wealth“. No wonder why the Olympic Games will start on August the 8th 2008 :) !!

Nine (Cantonese: “gau“) : this number is associated with long lasting relationships because of the phonetic similarity with “long lasting“.

So these three numbers are considered as lucky numbers. But there’s another number which is usually associated with bad luck: it’s the number Four (Cantonese: “say“) because of a similarity with the word “death“. For example, in most of the buildings in Hong Kong you won’t find the floors which number ends with a 4: in the elevator you’ll only see 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 and so on. In my building I was living on the 36th floor, which in fact was the 32th because of these missing numbers.

Quite interestingly, the number four is also associated with the death in Japanese (the pronunciation being “shi“) and is therefore considered as a bad luck number too!

Filed Under Culture

2 Responses to “Chinese lucky numbers”

  1. Xianlin on June 25th, 2008 9:36 am

    i don’t know if it is the same for Hong Kong. in Mainland, six is also a good number :)

  2. Joanne on June 25th, 2008 5:20 pm

    Yes, “six” can be considered as good number in HK too, it is associated with the idea of “infinity” (In Chinese, “六六無窮”)

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