We all know that there are a lot of superstitions across the world surrounding numbers. Some numbers are considered to be lucky, others unlucky. And it often varies across the world. The reason for this is complex, but it’s likely to do with cultural differences and customs that have been observed over the years.
In fact, we can trace religion, folk tales and cultural differences as the reason behind these differences. So, let’s look at some of the numbers that are lucky and unlucky throughout the world, and why.
The number 7 is considered to be lucky throughout the Western world, including the USA, and the UK. The reason for this is thought to be to do with the large role religion and Christianity plays in these cultures. 7 as a number has a lot of religious connotations. God created the world in 7 days, etc. But there are also the 7 Wonders of the World.
However, as is often the case, something that is lucky in the West is generally less so in the Far East. Countries such as China, Thailand, and Malaysia cite 7 as an unlucky number. This is thought to be a reference to July (the 7th month) being the month of the ghost.
Ah, the number 13. The black sheep of the number family. It seems 13 was on a hiding to nothing early on. This number is considered to be extremely unlucky in Western cultures, such as Scandinavia and the UK. The reason behind this is the link the number has to many grim events in history. The Last Supper and the Mayan Calendar are two good examples. The Friday the 13th movies with Jason Voorhees did little to improve people’s views of the number either!
Italy, oddly, seems to be one of the only countries in which 13 is a lucky number. That’s because 13 represents St. Anthony in Italy, who is the patron saint of lost people.
It’s funny how much things can differ on different continents. Let’s take the number four as a good example. In Germany and Ireland, this number is associated with luck due to the four-leaf clover. As such, the number has positive connotations for a lot of people.
But, again, on The Orient, this is seen as an unlucky number. The pronunciation of the number is eerily similar to the word for death in Chinese. And, being the superstitious sort, this number is a big no-no in countries with Chinese and Japanese influences
But not all numbers are thought to be unlucky in Oriental culture. In fact, the number 8 is considered to be hugely lucky in China, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, etc. This is because of its sound being similar, in both Chinese and Japanese, to the words ‘prosper’ and ‘make money’.
But, in India, the number 8 comes with all sorts of negative connotations. That’s because it’s the number of Sani, which relates to a lethargic and lazy person.
Never has there been a clearer indicator of the superstition related to numbers than with 666. Of course, this is all to do with religion as, in the Bible, 666 is the number of the devil. In pretty much any Christian country in the world, this is an unlucky number.
In China, however, you guessed it, 666 is seen as a lucky number. It represents good fortune and translates as meaning ‘everything goes smoothly’. It can often be seen displayed in storefronts across China.