In many cultures and superstitions, certain numbers are considered unlucky. These numbers may be avoided in everyday life or may be associated with negative events or outcomes. Understanding what numbers are considered unlucky can provide insight into the beliefs and values of different cultures around the world.
The Origins of Unlucky Numbers
Superstitions have always been a part of human culture. However, what do we mean when we say a number is unlucky? The origins of unlucky numbers differ depending on the culture. In Chinese culture, for example, the number 4 is considered unlucky because the word for “four” sounds similar to the word for “death.” Meanwhile, in Western culture, the number 13 is considered unlucky because of its association with the Last Supper and the subsequent betrayal of Jesus by one of his twelve apostles.
The Number 4 in Chinese Culture
In Chinese culture, the number 4 is considered unlucky because of its association with death. The word for “four” in Mandarin, Cantonese, and several other Chinese dialects sounds similar to the word for “death.” As a result, many buildings in China and other countries with a significant Chinese population will omit the fourth floor, much like buildings in the West may omit the thirteenth floor.
The Number 13 in Western Culture
In Western culture, the number 13 is considered unlucky because of its association with the Last Supper. Jesus had twelve apostles, and during the Last Supper, one of them, Judas, betrayed Jesus. As a result, the number 13 has become associated with betrayal and bad luck. Many buildings in the West will omit the thirteenth floor, much like buildings in China may omit the fourth floor.
Other Unlucky Numbers
While the number 4 and the number 13 are perhaps the best-known unlucky numbers, they are far from the only ones. In fact, many cultures have their own unlucky numbers, each with their own unique origins and associations.
The Number 9 in Japan
In Japan, the number 9 is considered unlucky because it is pronounced similarly to the word for “pain” or “suffering.” As a result, many hospitals in Japan will not have a ninth floor, and the number is often avoided in other contexts as well.
The Number 17 in Italy
In Italy, the number 17 is considered unlucky because, when written in Roman numerals, it becomes “XVII,” which can be rearranged to spell “VIXI.” In Latin, “VIXI” means “I have lived,” which is often used to indicate that someone is dead.
The Number 666 in Christianity
In Christianity, the number 666 is considered unlucky because it is associated with the devil. The Book of Revelation describes the devil as having the number 666, and as a result, the number has become associated with evil and bad luck.
FAQs on What are Considered Unlucky Numbers
What are some traditional unlucky numbers?
Some traditional unlucky numbers include 13 and 4. In many Western societies, 13 is considered unlucky because it is believed to be associated with bad luck or even death. This superstition is so strong that some buildings omit the 13th floor, and some people avoid getting married, holding meetings, or even flying on Friday the 13th. In some Asian countries, including China, Japan, and Korea, 4 is considered unlucky because its pronunciation is similar to the word for “death” in those cultures. As a result, many buildings do not have a 4th floor, and some phone numbers and license plates omit the digit 4.
Are there other numbers that are considered unlucky?
Yes, some people also consider the number 666 to be unlucky because it is associated with the Biblical figure of the “beast” or anti-Christ. Some people avoid phone numbers, addresses, or license plates that contain 666. Additionally, in some cultures, the number 9 can be considered unlucky because its pronunciation is similar to the word for “suffering” or “agony.” However, in some contexts, such as in Chinese numerology or feng shui, the number 9 can also be considered lucky.
Do unlucky numbers vary by culture?
Yes, each culture has its own superstitions and beliefs about numbers. For example, in some parts of Africa, the number 7 is considered unlucky because it is associated with spirits or ancestors. In many parts of Asia, 8 is considered lucky because its pronunciation is similar to the word for “prosperity” or “wealth.” In some Native American cultures, the number 4 is considered sacred because it represents the four directions or elements. Therefore, it is important to be aware of cultural differences when considering what numbers may be unlucky or lucky.
How do unlucky numbers affect people’s behavior?
Belief in unlucky numbers can sometimes influence people’s behavior, choices, and even livelihoods. For example, some architects and builders may avoid using certain numbers in designing buildings or houses to avoid potential objections or superstitions. Some people may also choose to avoid certain phone numbers, addresses, or license plates to prevent bad luck. However, it is important to remember that the power of these numbers is largely based on cultural beliefs rather than any objective reality.