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【Learn Chinese】Lucky Numbers in Chinese Culture
Some numbers in China have a very important meaning. Some have a negative meaning, and some are considered as lucky numbers. Here is an overview about the lucky numbers and their meanings.
9 – 九 jiŭ
The number 9 in Chinese sounds very similar to 久, jiŭ which translates to “long lasting” or “eternity”. In fact, both characters have the same pinyin and the same tone, meaning they sound exactly the same. Due to this, it’s an example of a number that is used at Chinese weddings and also birthdays! The number represents longevity so is perfectly apt for either of these celebrations.
8 – 八 bā
The pinnacle of lucky numbers in China! Number 8 in Chinese, bā sounds very similar to the word “to prosper” 發 fā. People in China go to extraordinary lengths to get themselves a number plate, or a mobile phone number with as many 8’s in there as possible!
6 – 六 Liù
Number 6 in Chinese sounds similar to 流 liú which means “to flow” and 溜 liū which means smooth or slick in Chinese. When six is paired together numerous times to make 66, 666 or 6666 etc these are actually considered very lucky numbers.
Now you know 6,8 and 9 are China’s lucky numbers. Moving on from singular lucky numbers, there are also some combinations which is worth introducing you to.
520 (五二零, wǔ èr líng) – This is one of the most common combinations that is widely used across WeChat. Why you ask? Take the phrase for “I Love You” in Chinese, this is 我爱你 (wǒ ài nǐ) in Chinese. Note the sound for this almost resembles 520 in Chinese Pinyin. Many Chinese would type 520 in a message to a partner with the intention of expressing their love for that person, because typing 我爱你 is apparently just too much effort!
1314 (一三一四, yī sān yī sì) – This number combination actually links directly to the above. 1314 sounds pretty close to 一生一世 (yī shēng yī shì). The direct translation of this is “one life one world”. How does this link to the above? Combine them to make 5201314… I love you forever.