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Chinese superstitions-00-1510

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Those who are familiar with Western cultures know how many things are treated as taboo. Superstitious people will go to any length to avoid certain things that their culture considers as harbingers of bad luck. It is the same all over the world. Go to any part of the world and you will find, irrespective of caste & creed, there are certain things that are considered unlucky and certain things that are considered as lucky. It is the same with the Chinese too, but the difference between the Chinese and Western culture, especially with regards to their culture and the superstitions based thereon, are revealed starkly when it comes to number 13.

You will be amazed, if you are a European, to know that the Chinese consider the number 13 as lucky. It is widely known that Europeans treat Fridays and the number 13 as accursed, and if these two happen to come together like `Friday the 13th' it is treated as a very bad omen. On this particular day, people tend not to start any new work or not to embark on any journey. It is just the opposite with the Chinese people and this is due to the difference of culture. It is not that the Chinese do not have preferences for certain numerals. They love the numerical 8 and it is rumored that a phone number 8888-8888 fetched $300,000. This occurred in Chengdu, a Chinese city.

Do you recall the date of opening of the Beijing Olympics? It was on the 8th of August 2008 (08-08-08). If you thing that this was just a fluke and has nothing to do with the Chinese culture and its affection for certain numbers, you should check out the inauguration time of the Beijing Olympics. It was inaugurated at 8:08pm. This obsession for numbers is not prevalent in China only and one can also observe it in Singapore and Hong Kong and both these countries have a majority of Chinese people. Those who know about Chinese culture will tell you that these numbers are linked according to their pronunciation. They observe how a number sounds and then try to associate it with words that have a similar pronunciation.

The number 8 is pronounced as "fa", which is how words like fortune and prosperity sound in the Chinese language. But what about number 13 which is considered unlucky by Europeans and why do the Chinese consider it as lucky? The number "1" when put in the "tens" sounds like "shi" which means definite in Mandarin. The digit "3" sounds like living, life or birth. Hence the number "13", the pronunciation of which is "shisan" in Mandarin, might mean, according to Chinese culture and traditions as "assured growth" or "definitely vibrant". This is the reason why Chinese people consider the number 13 as lucky. There are some other numbers too which are considered lucky by the Chinese because of they way they are pronounced in the Mandarin language.
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