Lucky 8s and Unlucky 4s: A Guide to Number Symbolism in Chinese Culture

Hey there, curious minds! Today we’re going to explore the fascinating world of number meaning in Chinese culture. From lucky numbers to unlucky ones, the numbers used in Chinese culture have a rich history and symbolism that is worth exploring. So, let’s dive in!

Overview of Number Symbolism in Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, numbers hold a significant meaning beyond their arithmetical value. This meaning is derived from concepts of yin and yang, the five elements, and the Bagua. This has led to a complex and varied system of numerical symbolism, which is used in many aspects of daily life.

Lucky Numbers

Let’s start with the good news – lucky numbers! There are several numbers that are considered particularly auspicious in Chinese culture, including:

  • 8: Considered the luckiest number due to its similarity to the Chinese word for “prosperity.” This number is often associated with wealth and success.
  • 6: Similar to the word for “fluid” or “smooth,” 6 is associated with good luck in business and relationships.
  • 9: Known as the “Emperor’s Number,” 9 is the highest single-digit number and therefore represents completion and perfection.

Unlucky Numbers

Of course, there are also numbers to avoid in Chinese culture. Some of the most commonly considered unlucky numbers include:

  • 4: Considered the unluckiest number due to its similarity to the word for “death.” This number is often avoided, and many buildings in China do not have a fourth floor.
  • 5: This number is associated with the five elements and is considered to be a neutral number. However, it can also be associated with extreme behavior or danger.

Other Numbers to Know

In addition to these lucky and unlucky numbers, there are several others that also hold significance in Chinese culture. These include:

  • 1: Often associated with unity, this number also represents creativity and originality.
  • 2: This number is associated with balance and harmony, and is considered lucky in romantic relationships.
  • 3: Known as the “Dragon’s Number,” 3 is considered a powerful and auspicious number due to the three claws on a dragon’s foot.


In conclusion, understanding number symbolism in Chinese culture is a fascinating and complex topic. From lucky numbers to unlucky ones, each number holds a specific significance that is worth exploring. Whether you’re looking to do business in China or simply interested in learning more about this culture, understanding the meaning behind the numbers is an important part of gaining insight into Chinese life and society.

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