Most cultures have a concept of which numbers are lucky and unlucky. Some cultures may consider one number to be unlucky while others believe that same number is lucky in games of roulette. There are a variety of lucky and unlucky numbers in nearly every culture in the world. Moreover, each culture has its unique reasons for believing in unlucky and lucky numbers. The world of lucky and unlucky numbers is vast and full of intrigue.
Lucky and Unlucky Numbers in Western Cultures
One of the lucky numbers in Western culture is the number 7. This number is considered lucky for several different reasons. First, in Christianity, God is believed to have created the universe in 7 days and there are 7 deadly sins. The number 7 is also considered to be lucky because until the 17th century, there were 7 known planets. Pythagoras, the famous mathematician, also thought the number 7 was lucky. The number 7 is also the best number that a player can roll when playing craps. Finally, many ladybugs have exactly 7 spots and ladybugs are thought to be lucky insects. Another lucky number in many Western cultures is the number 3 because there is a popular quote that says good things happen in threes. Also, the number 3 is lucky because a triangle, thought to be an indestructible shape, has 3 sides and the number 3 is also a biblical representation of the trinity. Although most people do not consider the number 4 to be lucky or unlucky, it is sometimes associated with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Christianity. In addition, most swear words are 4 letter words. One of the most disturbing and unlucky numbers in Western culture is 666. In Christianity, the number 666 is associated with the beast or who is better known as Satan. The number 666 is the most avoided number in Western culture, even more than the number 13.
The fear of the number 13 is so common in Western cultures that the phobia has its own name – triskaidekaphobia. This is why most buildings in North America do not have a 13th floor. The origin of the fear of the number 13 is unknown but it appears in many places. For example, the famous painting of the Last Supper shows Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus, as the 13th person at the table from left to right. The number 13 is also connected to the lunar cycle as there are 13 full moons in a single year. The full moon is believed to negatively affect the sanity and emotions of people. Friday the 13th is one of the most well-known cultural superstitions and is associated with the massacre of the Knights Templar on Friday the 13th in 1307. The number 13 is even considered to be unlucky in Persian culture. The number 11 can be unlucky or lucky for people of Western cultures. For craps players, the number 11 is just as good as the number 7. According to numerology, the number 11 is the first master number. However, the number 11 can also be unlucky because of the events that occurred on September 11th. In addition, one of the flights that crashed that day was American Airlines Flight 11.
Lucky and Unlucky Numbers in Asian Culture
Generally, lucky and unlucky numbers are associated with even and odd numbers in Asian culture. Even numbers are considered to be lucky so many Asian couples have their weddings on even numbered days. The number 2 is also a very lucky number in Asia because it is believed that good things happen in pairs – a belief that even appears in Western culture. The number 2 is used in advertising as a phrase that means ‘double the happiness’ or ‘double the effectiveness’. In Cantonese, the pronunciation of the number 2 is similar to the world ‘easy’. In many Asian countries, people believe that the luck of a number is associated with its pronunciation. Numbers that have a similar pronunciation with wealth, prosperity and luck are considered to be lucky. There may be no better lucky number in China than the number 8. Recently, a news article reported that the telephone number 8888-8888 was sold for more than $200,000. The number 8 is considered lucky because the pronunciation sounds like the phrase ‘good luck’.
There are also unlucky numbers in Asian culture that are associated with pronunciation. For example, the number 4 is thought to be unlucky because the pronunciation is similar to the word ‘die’ in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Because of this, many hospitals and other types of buildings do not have a 4th floor. In Asian culture, it is also thought to be bad luck to give a present that has 4 pieces. Interestingly, the number 666 is considered to be very lucky in Asian cultures. The pronunciation of the number 666 is similar to ‘things going smoothly’ which is why it is thought to be lucky. There are many shops in Asia that have the number 666 carved into the doors of their stores as a good luck charm. People in Asia even carve this number into the front doors of their homes.
The Number 5
The number 5 is significant in many different religions. In Christianity, it is thought that Jesus had 5 wounds that are associated with his crucifixion, the Crown of Thorns, the Holy Lance and the Scourging. In Judaism, the book of Psalms is made up of 5 different books and the Torah contains the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, also known as the Five Books of Moses. In addition, the Khamsa, a symbol that is shaped like a 5 fingered hand, is a symbol of protection in both Jewish and Arabic culture. The number 5 is also seen in Islam as there are thought to be 5 basic pillars of Islam and Muslims pray 5 times a day to Allah. There are also thought to be Five Holy Purified Ones in Islam who are considered to be Muhammad and his family. The ancient Greeks also believed the number 5 was significant because they thought the universe was made of 5 different elements – ether, fire, air, water and earth. Finally, the Japanese believe that the number 5 is important because there are 5 planets that can be seen from Earth with the naked eye.