The number 4 holds a special place in Chinese culture, but not for the reasons one might expect. In China, the number 4 is considered to be an unlucky number, and many people try to avoid using it whenever possible. This superstition is known as tetraphobia, and it has its roots in ancient Chinese beliefs and practices.
what does 4 mean in China?
The Arabic numeral 4 represents the solidity of material and the construction of objects. However, what does the number 4 specifically mean in Chinese culture?
The Auspiciousness of the Number 4
The number 4 is often associated with negative connotations in Chinese culture. It sounds similar to the word for “death” in Chinese, which has led to a belief that it brings bad luck and is associated with misfortune and death. In traditional numerology, the number 4 is considered an unlucky number, representing the “four evils” and the need for caution in all aspects of life.
In popular naming traditions, the character for the number 4 is associated with “being covered by clouds, suffering, and torment,” and a lack of perseverance and determination. In short, the number 4 is seen as an unlucky number that brings difficulties and obstacles, often leading to failure and despair.
The Meaning of the Number 4
In general, the number 4 represents obstacles, suffering, and difficulties, with a lack of perseverance and determination leading to a lack of success. It is considered an unlucky number, representing a lack of completion and fulfillment.
Detailed Meaning of the Number 4
Career: Beauty, charm, destroyed homes, disaster, robbery, and property damage.
Family: Limited family connections, siblings who do not provide support, and a need for a positive outlook in life.
Health: Weakness, external injuries, skin diseases, premature death, and madness.
Overall Meaning: As an unlucky number, 4 represents destruction and a lack of completion. People with this number may feel trapped or powerless, often facing great hardships or mental instability. However, some people with this number are known for their filial piety, faithfulness, and talent.
The essence of numbers has always been deeply rooted in primitive meanings, such as 1 and 2 coming together to create 3, which represents stability and the basic safety needed for survival. The task of the number 4 is to realize and manifest this stability.
In Chinese culture, the number 4 is not particularly auspicious. The similarity in pronunciation to the word for “death” has led to a long-held belief that the number brings bad luck and misfortune. This is similar to the Western aversion to the number 13.
number 4 in Chinese culture
Ancient Chinese people liked to group things into sets of four, so various “Four Greats” were formed. Here are some representative examples:
- Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar: qin (a musical instrument), qi (a board game), shu (calligraphy), and hua (painting)
- Four Categories of Chinese Literature: classics, history, philosophy, and literature
- Four Styles of Chinese Calligraphy: seal script, clerical script, regular script, and cursive script
- Four Great Classical Chinese Dramas: The Peony Pavilion by Tang Xianzu, The West Chamber by Wang Shifu, The Peach Blossom Fan by Kong Shangren, and The Palace of Eternal Youth by Hong Sheng
- Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature: Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, Water Margin by Shi Nai’an, Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en, and Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
- Four Great Cultural Relics: “Ming and Qing Archives,” “Oracle Bones from Yin Ruins,” “Han Dynasty Juyan Documents,” and “Buddhist Scripture from Dunhuang.”
- Four Great Mythical Beasts in Ancient China: Qinglong (blue dragon), Baihu (white tiger), Zhuque (vermilion bird), and Xuanwu (black tortoise).
- Four Great Ferocious Beasts in Ancient China: Qiongqi (horned dragon), Hundun (chaotic creature), Taotie (gluttonous monster), and Tawu (hairy monster).
- Four Great Divine Beasts in Ancient China: Qinglong (blue dragon) from the East, Baihu (white tiger) from the West, Zhuque (vermilion bird) from the South, and Xuanwu (black tortoise) from the North.
- Four Great Ancient Chinese Academies: Yingtianfu Academy (located on the banks of Nanhu Lake in Suiyang, Henan), Yuelu Academy (located on Yuelu Mountain in Changsha, Hunan), Bailudong Academy (located in Lushan, Jiangxi), and Songyang Academy (located on Songshan Mountain in Dengfeng, Henan).
- Four Great Traditional Chinese Music Systems: Nanyin music from Quanzhou in Fujian, Gu-ensemble drum music from the City God Temple in Xi’an, music from Zhihua Temple in Beijing, and Qingshangou music from Qinghuang Temple on Wutai Mountain in Shanxi.
- Four Great Tragedies in Yuan Dynasty Zaju Plays: “The Injustice to Dou E” by Guan Hanqing, “Autumn in the Han Palace” by Ma Zhiyuan, “The Drizzle on the Wutong Tree” by Bai Pu, and “The Orphan of Zhao” by Ji Junxiang.
- Four Great Comedies in Yuan Dynasty Zaju Plays: “The Romance of the Western Chamber” by Wang Shifu, “The Peony Pavilion” by Tang Xianzu, “The Horse Racing on the Wall” by Bai Pu, and “The Legend of the White Snake” by unknown author.
- Four Great Traditional Chinese Drama Types: Beijing Opera, Huangmei Opera, Yue Opera, and Yu Opera.
- Four Great Joys of Life in Chinese Culture: timely rain after a long drought, meeting an old friend in a far-off place, the wedding night, and achieving success in the imperial examination.
- Four Great Novels Criticizing Late Qing Dynasty China: “A Real Record of the Qing Court” by Li Baojia, “Twenty Years of Strange Experiences” by Wu Jianren, “Old Capital” by Liu E, and “Sea of Regret” by Zeng Pu.
- Four Great Grottoes in China: Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Yungang Grottoes in Datong, and Maijishan Grottoes in Tianshui.
- Four Famous Chinese Liquors: Maotai from Guizhou, Fenjiu from Shanxi, Luzhou Laojiao from Sichuan, and Xifeng Liquor from Shaanxi.
- The Four Famous Pottery Types in China: Yixing Purple Clay Pottery in Jiangsu, Jingdezhen Five-Color Porcelain in Yunnan, Qinzhou Nixing Pottery in Guangxi, and Rongchang Anfu Pottery in Chongqing.
- The Four Famous Brocades in China: Shu Brocade in Chengdu, Yun Brocade in Nanjing, Song Brocade in Suzhou, and Zhuang Brocade in Guangxi.
- The Four Famous Regional Cuisines in China: Shandong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Cantonese Cuisine, and Huaiyang Cuisine.
- The Four Famous Mysteries in the Late Qing Dynasty: Yang Naiwu and the Little White Cabbage, Yang Sanjie’s Accusation, Zhang Wenxiang’s Assassination of Horses, and the Huai’an Mystery.
- The Four Famous Traditional Chinese Toys: Tangram, Nine Linked Rings, Huarong Road, and Kongming Lock.
is 4 a lucky number in Chinese
The auspicious meaning of the number 4 is:
Prosperity of descendants: Firstly, the number four looks like a courtyard, symbolizing the prosperity of family members and the growth of offspring. Therefore, for families with few members, it is better to choose things related to the number 4, such as living on the 4th floor or buying four items, etc., which can increase the number of people in the family and continue to promote the prosperity of descendants.
Good things come in pairs: The number four itself is an even number, so most of the time, it represents the auspicious meaning of things coming in pairs, such as “四喜临门” (four happy things come to the door), “四喜发财” (four things bring wealth), etc. In folklore, there is also a dish called “四喜丸子” (four happiness meatballs), which signifies good things come in pairs and represents a very prosperous and auspicious meaning. Therefore, we can use the number four as an auspicious number.
Harmony and stability: Since ancient times, Chinese architectural design and garden styles have emphasized symmetry, because people believe that the symmetrical and stable form of four corners and eight sides is the most harmonious and stable. Even today, square and symmetrical shapes are still the main design elements used in various designs, such as wardrobes, tables, chairs, etc. And the number four is just such a square and symmetrical shape, so it represents harmony and stability.
Tai ji: Due to the objective conditions of history, the number four has unique significance in Taoist culture and appears very frequently. For example, Wuji gives birth to Taiji, Taiji gives birth to two polarities, two polarities give birth to four images, and four images give birth to eight trigrams. As a result of the far-reaching influence of Taoist culture, four has been naturally favored by society and endowed with special significance.
largeness: The culture of court historians has also contributed to the reinforcement of the meaning of “four” over generations, with four being metaphorically associated with largeness, breadth, and expansiveness. As a result of this layer of meaning, the frequency of use of the number four is even more widespread.
“majestic” and “powerful”: The cultural subconscious that naturally develops is similar to how great mountains and rivers are constantly imbued with the synonymous terms “majestic” and “powerful” by people.
is 4 unlucky in China
Westerners dislike the number “13”, while the Chinese (including Japanese, Koreans, and North Koreans) are very superstitious about “4”. “4” has become the most unlucky number in the minds of the Chinese, because it sounds like the word for “death”. Similarly, “8” has become the most auspicious number in people’s minds, due to its homophonic sound with the word for “prosperity” in Cantonese. This idea was originally popular among the Cantonese people, but has gradually become a popular concept throughout the country since the reform and opening up period.
However, due to regional cultural differences, the number 4 is very popular in the Chaoshan region of Guangdong Province. As 4 is a multiple of 2, Chaoshan people refer to 2 as a pair or a couple, and explain that 4 means “in pairs”. During the Spring Festival, Chaoshan people visit each other and exchange New Year’s greetings, usually bringing a pair of Chaoshan mandarins. If it’s a grand occasion, they will bring four. The most common scene is three mandarins placed underneath and one on top.
It is said that the origin of considering “4” as an unlucky number comes from Japan, where the pronunciation of “4” is similar to the word for “death” in Japanese, and the Japanese have avoided “4” since ancient times. The Chinese taboo of “4” is a more recent phenomenon, but its influence has become increasingly profound.
Numbers themselves cannot bring good or bad luck, but people have imbued them with emotional significance. People’s preference for “8” and aversion to “4” at least reflects the two psychological tendencies that people universally have: people like money the most, and people fear death the most.
what does the number 4 mean in feng shui
In feng shui, the number 4 is generally considered an unlucky number because it sounds similar to the Chinese word for death. However, there are some positive associations with the number 4 in feng shui as well. Here are some possible interpretations of the number 4 in feng shui:
Stability and groundedness: The number 4 represents stability and groundedness, as it is associated with the four directions and the four elements (water, fire, earth, and air). In feng shui, the number 4 is often used to create a sense of stability and balance in a space.
Creativity and inspiration: In some schools of feng shui, the number 4 is associated with creativity and inspiration. This is because the word for “four” in Chinese sounds similar to the word for “to create.”
Relationship harmony: The number 4 is also associated with relationship harmony in some schools of feng shui. This is because the word for “four” in Chinese sounds similar to the word for “togetherness.” As a result, the number 4 is sometimes used in feng shui cures to improve relationships and strengthen family bonds.
It’s important to note that the interpretation of the number 4 in feng shui can vary depending on the specific school of feng shui and the cultural context in which it is being used. Additionally, while feng shui can be a helpful tool for creating a harmonious living environment, it should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice.
number 4 in Chinese New Year
In Chinese New Year, the number 4 is generally avoided due to its association with death, as the pronunciation of “four” sounds similar to the Chinese word for “death”. However, in some regions such as the Chaoshan area in Guangdong Province, the number 4 is considered lucky and is often used during the holiday. This is because in Chaoshan culture, the number 4 is associated with pairs, as it is a multiple of 2, which is considered auspicious. For example, during Chinese New Year visits, people may bring a pair of Chaoshan mandarins, and in more formal settings, they may bring four mandarins arranged in pairs.
The numbers for red envelopes during the Chinese New Year are very important. Chinese people value the concept of good things coming in pairs, so the numbers 6 and 8 are considered auspicious. 6 represents smooth progress and good fortune, while 8 represents prosperity and wealth. It is important to avoid the number 4, which sounds like the word for “death” in Chinese, when choosing even numbers for red envelopes during the Spring Festival.
number 4 in Chinese numerology
In Chinese numerology, the number 4 is often considered an unlucky number because it sounds similar to the Chinese word for “death” (死 sǐ). As a result, many people try to avoid using the number 4 in important or auspicious situations such as weddings, house numbers, or phone numbers.
However, in some contexts, the number 4 can also be seen as a positive number. For example, in some parts of China, the number 4 is associated with the idea of “成双成对” (chéng shuāng chéng duì), which means “in pairs”. This is because the number 4 is a multiple of 2, which is seen as a lucky number representing balance and harmony. In this context, the number 4 is considered a positive number and is often used in gifts or decorations to symbolize togetherness and unity.
Overall, the meaning of the number 4 in Chinese numerology is complex and context-dependent. While it is generally associated with negative connotations, it can also be viewed positively in certain situations.
number 4 In the five elements
In traditional Chinese philosophy, the five elements theory (also known as Wu Xing) is a fundamental concept used to explain the relationship and interaction between different natural phenomena, including numbers. The five elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, each representing a different aspect of the natural world.
Number 4 is associated with the Wood element, which represents growth, expansion, and vitality. In the five elements theory, each number is assigned to a specific element, and the number 4 is believed to have a strong affinity with Wood. This is because the number 4 is associated with the idea of balance and stability, which are key characteristics of the Wood element.
Moreover, in the five elements theory, the Wood element is also associated with the liver, the gallbladder, and the eyes. Thus, the number 4 is believed to have a connection with these organs and their related functions.
Overall, the number 4 in the five elements theory is associated with growth, balance, stability, and the Wood element.
number 4 In Chinese wedding
In Chinese culture, the number 4 is generally considered unlucky and is therefore avoided in many aspects of life, including weddings. This is because the pronunciation of the number 4 in Chinese is similar to that of the word for “death.”
During weddings, the number 4 is often avoided when it comes to important wedding rituals such as the wedding date, the number of gifts given, and the amount of money given in red envelopes. Instead, couples tend to choose dates and numbers that are considered lucky, such as 8 (associated with prosperity) and 9 (associated with longevity).Similarly, wedding gifts and red envelopes given to the newlyweds also try to avoid numbers related to 4.
It’s worth noting, however, that the significance of the number 4 in Chinese weddings can vary depending on the region and the personal beliefs of the couple and their families. In some parts of China, for example, the number 4 is not considered as unlucky as it is in other regions.
Chinese funeral and number 4
In Chinese culture, the number 4 is considered to be unlucky and associated with death. This belief is especially prevalent during funerals, where the number 4 is avoided at all costs. It is believed that using the number 4 during a funeral or related event can bring bad luck and even harm to the living. As a result, Chinese families typically avoid using the number 4 in any form of communication or decoration related to funerals, such as on funeral wreaths or in the amount of money given as a condolence gift. Instead, they opt for even numbers or numbers associated with good luck, such as 8. This belief is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture and is still practiced widely today.
number 4 in the abacus
In the abacus, which is a counting device used in ancient China and other parts of Asia, the number 4 is represented by four beads in the lower deck and none in the upper deck. This is because the abacus is based on a decimal system and the value of each deck of beads is dependent on its position, with the lower deck representing the ones and the upper deck representing the fives.
The representation of the number 4 on the abacus is significant in that it helps to illustrate the basic principles of counting and arithmetic in the decimal system. It also shows how numbers can be manipulated and combined using simple operations such as addition and subtraction.
number 4 in Yin and Yang
In Yin and Yang philosophy, the number 4 is associated with the concept of balance and stability. In the Taoist tradition, Yin and Yang are two complementary forces that represent the dualities of the natural world, such as light and dark, hot and cold, and male and female. The number 4 is often seen as a representation of the four directions (north, south, east, and west), which symbolize the stability and balance of the physical world.
In addition, the number 4 is associated with the concept of “fourfold vision,” which refers to the ability to see things from multiple perspectives. This idea is central to the Taoist understanding of balance and harmony, as it emphasizes the importance of considering all aspects of a situation in order to achieve balance and avoid extremes.
number 4 in Taoism
In Taoism, the number 4 is considered a significant and powerful number. It is associated with the four directions (north, south, east, and west), the four seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter), and the four elements (water, fire, earth, and metal).
In the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang, the number 4 represents the balance and harmony of the two opposing forces. The two curved lines in the Yin-Yang symbol divide the circle into four sections, representing the four stages of Yin and Yang’s interplay.
Additionally, in the Taoist text “Tao Te Ching,” the number 4 is referenced several times, representing the fundamental principles of Taoism. For example, the “four great powers” refer to the essential qualities of Tao: love, moderation, humility, and frugality.
is 14 a lucky number Chinese
In Chinese culture, the number 14 is not considered a particularly lucky number. This is because the number 4, which is pronounced “si” in Mandarin Chinese, is associated with death and is considered unlucky. Therefore, numbers that contain the number 4, such as 14, are also seen as somewhat unlucky. However, it’s worth noting that the degree to which people believe in these superstitions can vary, and some may not consider 14 to be particularly unlucky. Ultimately, whether or not 14 is considered lucky or unlucky can depend on the individual and the specific cultural context.
The number 14 is not considered an auspicious number in China. In the minds of most people, 14 is not only inauspicious, but also very bad. This is probably related to the Chinese homophonic pun of the number 14. The homophonic pun for “1” is “want,” and the homophonic pun for “4” is “death,” so the homophonic pun for “14” is “want to die.” Therefore, it is considered unlucky. As a result, in some buildings, the 14th floor may be used as a special representative floor. For example, in some hotels, the 14th floor may be replaced with other signs.
is 24 a lucky number in Chinese
There are many people and things related to the number “24” in China, such as: a day has 24 hours, a year has 24 solar terms, there are 24 official histories in ancient China, the Tang Dynasty had 24 famous ministers, and there is a “Twenty-Four Bridges” in Yangzhou, Jiangsu.
The number 24 is considered an auspicious number in Chinese numerology. The meaning of the 24th number in the Book of Changes implies “digging for gold.” The poem goes: “With blessings at the door, wealth is abundant; starting from scratch, riches flow in with wisdom.”
In addition, according to the rules of good and bad strokes in Chinese names, the number 24 is also considered a lucky number. The poem goes: “A bright future depends on your own efforts, and success comes with the use of wisdom and strategy.”
The meaning of the number 24 in general is that with diligence and intelligence, one can achieve great success and become wealthy, even starting from nothing. The detailed analysis of the number 24 suggests that it represents a person with outstanding talents, intelligence, and strategic thinking who can overcome difficulties, become successful, and accumulate wealth. They are usually independent, self-reliant, and have a strong desire for self-esteem. They are generous, good at planning, and have the ability to invent new things, eventually leading to wealth and honor.
In mathematics, 24 is a composite number, and a day has 24 hours. In basketball, the shot clock is set for 24 seconds.
In the traditional Chinese calendar, there are 24 special days each year known as the 24 solar terms. The 24 solar terms are: Start of Spring, Rain Water, Insects Awakening, Vernal Equinox, Clear and Bright, Grain Rain, Start of Summer, Grain Full, Grain in Ear, Summer Solstice, Minor Heat, Major Heat, Start of Autumn, Limit of Heat, White Dew, Autumnal Equinox, Cold Dew, Frost’s Descent, Start of Winter, Minor Snow, Major Snow, Winter Solstice, Minor Cold, and Major Cold.
is 34 a lucky number in Chinese
The meaning of 34:
Number 34: represents the meaning of generation after generation.
Language of 34 roses: oath of eternal love. 34 roses sound like “mountain” and “oath” in Chinese, which represents a solemn promise. When love reaches the extreme, lovers will make a solemn oath.
is 44 a lucky number in Chinese
The origin of the number 44 is mostly attributed to the development and spread of Chinese character culture. In ancient times, these numbers had unique meanings, and different meanings represented different good or bad fortunes. Therefore, good luck and bad luck can bring wealth and good fortune to people.
44 represents “forty-four” and also symbolizes a happy and fulfilling couple. In Chinese culture, “forty-four” means “eternal love, growing old together”, and also symbolizes that both husband and wife have had the fortune to experience love and have a happy family life.
44 represents wealth and good luck and is an auspicious number. 4 is a lucky number, both theoretically and practically, often associated with wealth, good fortune, and no disasters. According to the Book of Changes (I Ching), “four” corresponds to the hexagram of Thunder and contains positive intentions such as progress, prosperity, and flourishing; in the Post-celestial Bagua, “four” corresponds to the hexagram of Xun, containing intentions such as freedom, liveliness, and prosperity, with no inauspicious meaning.
The auspiciousness and inauspiciousness can be concluded through practical application, which can be reflected in life, work, and study. For example, in indoor decoration, number 44 can be used to decorate the room. In overall layout, suitable layout and decoration can be chosen according to the auspiciousness of number 44. In work and study, suitable time and strategies can be chosen according to the characteristics of number 44 to achieve the best results. For unavoidable house numbers, some people add words such as “44 auspicious”, “44 smooth”, “44 lucky”, or “14 worry-free” to create creative doorplates. This means that everything goes smoothly, and everything is worry-free.
is 54 a lucky number in Chinese
54 represents May 4th Youth Day in China, which originated on May 4th, 1919. May 4th Youth Day stems from the “May Fourth Movement,” a patriotic anti-imperialist movement in China in 1919. The May Fourth Movement was a patriotic movement that was completely opposed to imperialism and feudalism, and it marked the beginning of China’s new democratic revolution. May 4th Youth Day has two meanings: one is to commemorate the May Fourth Movement, and the other is to celebrate youth. Together, they constitute the spiritual driving force that contains profound historical and practical significance. It is both a commitment to history and a quest to realize society and life, and it is also a reflection on future history. 54 adds up to 9, which is the highest number in Chinese numerology and represents great success.
In terms of the specific meaning of the number 54 in the principles of the Book of Changes, it represents the obstacles that arise from one’s own thoughts and the loss of harmony with others, as well as a number associated with great misfortune and evil. It suggests that one will suffer endless hardships, and ultimately experience great failure, depression, vexation, punishment, broken homes, illness, disability, short life, or even unexpected disasters due to environmental stimulation.
In modern times, the number 54 is seen as one that represents idealism that is too high and exceeds reality. Individuals associated with this number may be frustrated with the world and society and may be gradually isolated from society, finding solace in their own interests. They may experience physical and mental fatigue and have difficulty realizing their ambitions, leading to frustration and discontent. They may face obstacles in all things and have difficulty achieving great success, and may easily come into conflict with others, or encounter unlucky events.
In general, the early part of one’s life may be relatively favorable, but the later part of one’s life may not be. People associated with this number may be characterized as introverted and calm, strong-willed and self-reliant, but over time they may become increasingly isolated from society.
is 84 a lucky number in Chinese
The origin of the number 84 can be traced back to around 3000 BC. At that time, tribal leaders in the plains viewed 84 as a mysterious and powerful number, imbued with magical power to protect themselves and their people. During the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, 84 was used by many feudal lords as a magical number for summoning people and for ceremonies. As history progressed, 84 also became a unique political symbol, representing friendship, equality, and freedom. Some countries used 84 as a medium of communication, such as the Japanese Empire, which used 84 as a means of contact to express their future friendly relations.
84 has many different cultural meanings. In mainland China, according to ancient Eastern culture, 84 can be viewed as a spiritual symbol, which enables people to re-evaluate themselves and create new standards for building a new society. It also represents the concepts of free will and equality. When people speak with the same heart, they can gain more recognition and support. Additionally, in the field of religion, 84 also has many mystical meanings. It is the most important symbol for expressing religious power and faith, conveying people’s respect for natural forces and following the idea of seeking eternal life in religion.
Yes, in Chinese internet chat, “84” is often used to represent “not yes” or “not true” because the pronunciation of the number 8 is similar to that of the Chinese word for “not”, and the pronunciation of the number 4 is similar to that of the Chinese word for “yes”.
is 94 a lucky number in Chinese
1.The pronunciation of “4” sounds like the Chinese word for “death”, but in music, it represents a note, so the number 94 is considered lucky because it sounds like “long-lasting note”. In the book of I Ching, which is an ancient Chinese classic that explains the changes and phenomena of the universe, the number 94 represents wealth.
2.In Chinese internet slang, 94 sounds like the word for “just is”, so people often use it as a shorthand for “that’s right” or “exactly” when chatting online. For example, in chat conversations on platforms like Tencent, users might type “94” instead of “就是” to express agreement.
A: You are really smart.
B: 94, I think so too.
In conclusion, the number 4 holds both positive and negative connotations in Chinese culture. While it is primarily associated with bad luck and death, there are also positive associations with the number in certain regions of China. As China continues to modernize and globalize, the superstition surrounding the number 4 may begin to fade away, but for now, it remains an important part of Chinese culture and tradition.