Lucky numbers are based on Chinese words that sound similar to other Chinese words. The numbers 6, 8, and 9 are believed to have auspicious meanings because their names sound similar to words that have positive meanings.
The number 1 can represent unity.
The number 2 is a good number in Chinese culture. There is a Chinese saying "good things come in pairs". It is common to use double symbols in product brandnames, e.g. double happiness, double coin, double elephants etc. Cantonese speaking people like the number two because it sounds the same as their word for "easy".
The number 3 (Pronounced saam1 in Cantonese) sounds like the word "? (sanng)", meaning "life", and is thus considered a lucky number.
Although the number 4 is considered unlucky by most Chinese, it is considered lucky in some local Chinese dialects where it is a homophone with the word.
The number 5 is associated with the Five elements (Chinese philosophy), and in turn was historically associated with the Emperor of China. For example, the Tiananmen gate, being the main thoroughfare to the Forbidden City, has five arches.
The number 6, pronounced "liu" in Mandarin, sounds like the word for "flowing", "smooth" or "slippery" which can mean "everything goes smoothly".
The number 666 can be seen prominently in many shop windows across the country, and people there often pay extra to get a mobile phone number including this string of digits. Paradoxically, that number is considered to be demonic in Western culture, as it is the Number of the Beast.
The number 7 symbolizes "togetherness". This is shown in the Chinese mythology of Cowherd and Weaver Girl. The seventh day of the seventh month is The Night of Sevens. However, the mythology of Cowherd and Weaver Girl is a tragedy, since they could only meet up with each other once every 1000 years, therefore 7 is often known as a sad, tragic, and unlucky number in the northern Chinese tradition. Also, the 7th month of the year is known as the Ghost Month, and therefore 7 is often linked with fate, destiny, and supernatural occurrences.
The word for "eight" in Mandarin (Pinyin: ba¯) sounds similar to the word which means "prosper" or "wealth". In regional dialects the words for "eight" and "fortune" are also similar, eg Cantonese "baat" and "faat".
There is also a resemblance between two digits, "88", and the shuang xi ('double joy'), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters ? (xi, 'joy', 'happiness').
The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm
The number 9, being the greatest of single-digit numbers, was historically associated with the Emperor of China; the Emperor's robes often had nine dragons, and Chinese mythology held that the dragon has nine children.
Moreover, the number 9 (jiu) sounds like the word for "longlasting" (? pinyin ji?), and as such is often used in weddings.
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