Lucky Numbers and Superstition Around the World
Superstition is something engrained in modern society and while many of us
don't strongly believe the repercussions of opening an umbrella inside or
walking under a ladder, we still find ourselves going out of our way to avoid
carrying out these actions.
For example, certain numbers hold strong meanings for people in different parts
of the world, they can represent luck and good fortune or instil phobias and
mistrust when they crop up unexpectedly.
Odds are you will only find one four-leaf clover for every 10,000 normal clovers
and so the rarity of finding one increases the popularity of the plant and the
number 4 as a 'lucky number'.
However, the luck of the Irish doesn't have a worldly reach. In East Asian
countries, Tetraphobia, the fear of the number four, is a very real phenomenon
and involves people actively avoiding instances with the number in their
Fear of certain numbers in Asian culture typically depends on whether it sounds
similar to another word. 4 sounds very much like 'death' and 49 is a
particularly unlucky word because it sounds like 'pain until death'. This why
you'll find many apartment blocks in Asia simply missing out the fourth floor and
in 2010, in Beijing, traffic authorities even removed the number 4 from car
The number 8, however, is welcomed in everyday life in Asian countries and
those who wish to succeed in business over in China will try to incorporate the
number into everything they do, to encourage a better response from potential
partners. This is mainly because the number 8 is Ba in Chinese, which sounds
similar to Fa that translates to wealth or fortune.
The number 7, however, is considered by many ancient civilisations as the
perfect number and is believed to bring luck to those who use it. This reverence
of the number more than likely originates from its religious connotations
because it is mentioned in the bible numerous times: the world was created in
six days and on the seventh God rested, seven seals in Revelations and seven
The number 3 is another number that holds different connotations of luck
around the world. Here in the UK if something bad happens we will usually
comment that these sort of events 'come in threes'.
This superstition is fuelled by our need for confirmation of our beliefs; as we
grow up hearing these sayings and still being rational people use them as a
scapegoat for real fears. It's the same if we break a mirror, we know that we will
not be cursed with seven years bad luck but we might still keep one of the
broken pieces to try and prevent it. So this is why, if we experience something
negative twice, and close together, we will inevitably look for the third - and of
course find it, no matter how minute.
So next time you're out, look for any superstitious reactions to numbers (you
won't see the number 13 often for example) or when you're next on Mecca late at
night, playing a game of bingo and crossing your fingers that your lucky numbers
crop up, just think, there are probably millions of people out there sharing those
same numbers and superstitions, for the very same reason.