Chinese Numbers (I)

The Chinese invented many things in the past, and it’s not surprising that they also invented the number system, according to Professor Lam Lay Yong from National University of Singapore Mathematics, that the Chinese invented the number system and were adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing as early as 475BC, almost 1,000 years before the Arabic and Egyptians, and they simply used bamboo rods.

It’s no doubt that the numbers play a very important role in our lives, and in Chinese culture, people believe that some numbers can bring good luck and certain number can bring bad luck.

The lucky numbers are five, six, eight, nine and ten, and the unlucky number to avoid is number four.

Number five (wǔ) sounds similar to happiness (fú), and double six (liù) is considered very lucky, because it’s difficult to throw a double six with two dices, double six breaks the jinx. Number eight (bā) sounds similar to good fortune (fā), you see why people especially businessmen like number eight so much, and number nine (jiǔ) sounds exactly the same as longevity (jiǔ), even the emperors from Ming and Qing Dynasty were very fond of it, as there are 9,999 rooms in Forbidden Palace, and the room the emperors stayed has nine chairs, nine dragons carved on the wall, and nine animal ornaments on the eaves. Number ten (shí) is used in a four character idiom, be perfect in every way and flawless (Shí Quán Shí Měi).

Now we have come to the unlucky number four (sì), it sounds very close to death (sǐ), and we can see that death is not welcomed there in China.

People try to get as many lucky numbers as they can, for example, the phone numbers, door numbers and car plates and etc., and of course avoid number four as much as possible.

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