Posted by: Jack Henry | November 16, 2021

Editor’s Corner: (Mostly) Lucky Numbers

Good morning everyone!

Today we have the last of our articles about numbers. The focus on numbers today is on those that are a considered a little luckier in many cultures. The information here is from The Meaning of Numbers Among Different Cultures. I have made some changes to fit our style guide and trim the article a bit.


Most people believe in the adage that “all good things come in threes.” [KC – I have heard the opposite, too, that “bad things come in threes.”] This is particularly true in Sweden, where people consider three a very lucky number.

Three is considered the luckiest number in Korea. In Korea, the number three symbolizes control over ground and heaven because one represents the sky while two represents the earth. So, adding the two numbers produces three.

Italians associate the number three with balance and strength, which is represented by a triangle.

However, the Japanese and the Vietnamese avoid taking photos if there are only three people because of an old superstition that death will come to whoever is in the middle of the photo. [KC – Wow, that’s grim.]


In countries like Japan and China, the favorability of a number usually comes from the way it is pronounced or how it sounded in the local language. But in Korea, a number is considered lucky because of its concept: seven means “lucky,” which is why it is used frequently in the gambling areas in the country.

In most western countries, such as the Netherlands, France, United States, and the United Kingdom, seven is a lucky number as well. They associate it with the seven planets, seven wonders (ancient world), seven deadly sins, [KC – Um, not what I’d associate with luck, especially if you’ve seen the movie
Se7en (Seven).] and God needing only seven days to create the entire universe.

But in countries that came under Chinese influence such as Thailand and Vietnam, the number seven is an unlucky number. It’s because it represents the month of July, which is the time people pay respect to their dead relatives. People in these countries offer food items…in the hope that they will not be haunted by the dead.


Many religions around the world, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Taoism consider eight an auspicious number. Chinese people are particularly fond of the number eight. The number translates to bā, which sounds like the Chinese word fā, which means to generate wealth. The association of the number eight with wealth is so strong in China that properties with the number eight are considered highly valuable possessions. In Hong Kong, for example, someone paid $640,000 for a license plate number that had the particular number. Here’s another solid example—the August 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing officially started at 08:08:08 local time.

The number eight is also considered lucky in Japan, where it is called ya or hachi. The association with luck is in the formation for the word in Japanese characters, which gives off the idea of getting wealthy because the shape of the letter 八 gradually broadens.


If the meaning of number 666 in Christian countries evokes fear, this particular number is lucky for others. For the Chinese the number 666 is considered to bring good fortune because it means everything goes smoothly. Many Chinese want to have 666 in their phone numbers or license plates and are willing to pay more just to have them.

Here’s to a lucky remainder of 2021 to you!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

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