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Romance and reality of numerical superstition

(People's Daily Online)

08:16, January 11, 2013


The phenomenon of blindly believing in the good or ill luck hinted by Arabic numerals and attaching the emotions to them is very common in China. Compared with Western countries where there are also some taboos associated with numerals, the farfetched interpretations of Chinese to the numerals are richer and closer to superstition.

Related: Wealthy see their fate linked to feng shui

Almost every numeral as well as some numeral combinations are given auspicious or ominous attribute in Chinese folk culture in terms of pronunciation and literal meanings, which is somewhat similar to the belief in traditional lunar almanac.

The best example is that a lot of people are willing to spend more money to buy a phone number or a license plate number with numerals 6 and 8 but avoid the numeral "4," which has the same pronunciation as death in Chinese. The interpretation of the digital combination "518" as "I will be rich" is also a numeral superstition with Chinese characteristics.

More commonly, people often arrange significant events in dates sounding auspicious. Jan. 4, 2013 was the first choice for many young Chinese people to be married at a registry just because the numeral combination of the day sounds like "I love you for all my life." According to media reports, many cities created a new record of marriage registration that day and many lovers even queued at the Bureau of Civil Affairs in advance.

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