Numbers in Chinese Culture: Good & Bad


In any culture, there is always a part – big or small – that has something to do with superstitions.

Chinese culture is of no exception. Chinese people are extremely superstitious about many things (you can become our student and get known about other things in the funniest way).

An area that, perhaps, strikes out the most is numbers and dates. People are very superstitious about dates, especially when it comes to planning important events, such as weddings. You will soon notice that many people are very careful using numbers, too.

In this article, we’re going to find out what are some of the favorite and most hated numbers according to Chinese people.

Number 8 in Chinese cultureNumber Eight

‘Eight’ is considered to be the best and ‘luckiest’ number in Chinese culture, as 8 (八, bā) in Chinese is pronounced very similar to 发 (fā), which means “getting rich”.

💡A tip from our teachers: Money plays an important role in Chinese people’s daily life, and some people still believe that “money can solve any problem in China”. That’s why number 8 is regarded to be auspicious.


Number 6 in Chinese cultureNumber Six

‘Six’ (六, liù) is also a very good number, and it can bring good luck. In Chinese, there’s a phrase 一路平安 (yī lù píng ān), which means “Have a safe trip”, and number six is treated as a numerical representation of this phrase. That’s why Chinese people love to have number 6 on their number plates.

💡A tip from our teachers: In addition to that, 6 has a hidden meaning somewhat like “Everything turns out as you wish”.


Number 9 in Chinese cultureNumber Nine

In Chinese, number 9 (九, jiǔ) is pronounced exactly the same as the word 久 (jiǔ), which means “long-lasting”. So the hidden meaning of 9 often refers to a long-lasting friendship or relationship.

💡A tip from our teachers: If you get a chance to attend a Chinese wedding, you’ll notice that one of the most popular wishes to the newlyweds would be 天长地久(tiān cháng dì jiǔ), which means wishing them “everlasting and unchanging (love and harmony)”.


Number 4 in Chinese cultureNumber Four

Last but not least, let’ move on to an ominous number in the Chinese culture, which is ‘Four’. In Chinese, the pronunciation of 4 (四, sì) is very similar to the pronunciation of the word 死 (sǐ), which means death.

💡A tip from our teacher: Due to all the bad luck that number 4 can bring, you’ll notice that in many buildings in China, there are no floors that contain this number (e.g. 4, 14, 40).


We hope that equipped with this knowledge, you will be able to pick a ‘good’ date for your future events – and stay away from the ‘bad’ ones.
Do you agree with our list? Got something to add?

Tweet us at @thatsmandarin or @linkwordchinese – we’ll be happy to continue the discussion on social media!


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That’s Mandarin Blog offers tips and advice on living and studying Mandarin in China, and explores the stark cultural differences between the East, the West – and everything in between.

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