Introduction: Unlucky and Lucky Numbers
Unlucky and lucky numbers are everywhere. Whenever Friday the 13th comes around we can grab a machete and run around pretending to be Jason Voorhees, who drowned as a boy at Camp Crystal Lake. Many people today think that the day itself is unlucky. The most common reason given is that the number is “incomplete”. Some say that the origins of this come from the Code of Hammurabi, which is one of the world’s oldest legal documents. It has an error in which, for unknown reasons, it omitted a 13th rule from its list. Other people say that the ancient Sumerians believed the number 12 to be a “perfect” number. People naturally think of the apostles, the months of the year and the signs of the zodiac. For some, the sense of dread from that particular date is palpable. Let’s look around the world for some other numbers that carry the weight of superstition along with either bad or good luck.
The Lucky Number 13
This is a lucky number in Italy. It represents St Anthony, the patron Saint of lost people and misplaced things. But it’s considered unlucky in many more countries, such as the US, Norway, Sweden, the UK and all countries with a strong Western influence. There is a number of reasons for this. In the Mayan calendar, with its 13 moons, to the Last Supper of Christ, with Judas Iscariot as the thirteenth. For the Knights Templar, October 13, 1307, was to prove a fateful day as they were denounced by King Philip IV of France, with many later suffering tortures and ending their days being burnt at the stake. And let’s not forget Jason Voorhees and his bloody machete, protecting Crystal Lake from young and promiscuous American teens. Of course, you could try and beat the odds by using this number at Bet365 Casino. After all, all numbers have the same lucky possibilities.
The Lucky Number 7
In westernized countries the number seven is lucky. Though the number does make an appearance in lots of random lists, the Christian connotations are probably it’s the strongest link for inclusion. For example in Genesis 1:1-3:24, God created the world in seven days. Then we have the “cardinal sins”, better known as the seven deadly sins. The number seven is considered to be unlucky in all countries with a Chinese influence, probably because it’s pronunciation is the same as ‘cheating’ or ‘lying’.
The Unlucky Number 4
In China, along with all oriental cultures, this is a big no-no. The reason being that it sounds like the word for “death”. Many street numbers will miss out on number four. It’s the same in lifts, the fourth floor is missing. So strong is this fear, there’s actually a word for it. The fear of the number 4 is “tetraphobia”. In Singapore, a luxury car brand took to changing the name of the Alfa-Romeo model 144 because people were afraid to buy it. In fact, in China, there are no number plates with the number four appearing on them. Nokia phones deliberately change the phone model numbers so as not to include the number four. People in Japan, consider the number 4 as unlucky because it’s pronounced as ‘shi’ which is a word for “death”. But in Germany, the four is a lucky number because that’s the number of leaves on a four-leaf clover!
The Lucky Number 8
The total reverse of the above. In all oriental countries, the number eight is a harbinger of good fortune. It all comes down to the fact that the pronunciation of ‘Ba’ in Chinese, (the number eight) sounds similar to the word ‘Fa’, which means to “make a fortune”. People pay more for things associated with this number. For example, in real estate, and for telephone numbers. In the 1990s, a vehicle license plate with 8 was once auctioned off for 5 million Hong Kong dollars. In contrast, the number eight is unlucky in India. They believe that the sum of (7+1=8) 8 is under the control of Saturn (Sani). It is said that the people born on the 17th will have to struggle a lot in their life be it personal or professional. Many Indians fear this number. They believe that it has evil effects like poverty, accidents, and death. Sani is considered to be a relationship breaker, peace-breaker & lethargic kind of personality.
The Unlucky Number 9
The Japanese consider the number 9 to bring bad luck, simply because it has a bad sound. It makes the sound “Ku,” which means “pain”, “suffering”, “agony” or “torture”. But in China, it is a lucky number because it sounds like the pronunciation of the word “long-lasting” and represents longevity. It also has an association with the Fire element, which stands for ideas of motivation and truth. In Norway, the number has significance within Norse mythology and for that reason is regarded as a sacred number.
The Lucky Number 3
In countries with a Christian influence, the three normally go hand in hand with the Holy Trinity, being The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. The Shamrock or clover is said to be lucky for the Irish for the same reason. In China, the number is lucky simply because many old philosophers spoke well of it. The ancient Egyptian pantheon hosts the earlier Trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus. In Norse mythology, Odin, Thor, Freyr, and Freyja possess three weapons, artifacts or magical items. In medieval Germany, peasants made paper triangles, adding a cross to each corner. Prayers were written in the middle and they were hungover cradles to protect the babies from evil. In fact, threes are everywhere, from the Three Little Pigs to the brothers, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. In Vietnam and Japan, a more recent trend has seen number 3 becoming more and more negative. It’s said that if a photo contains three persons, then the middle one will die first.
The Lucky Number 15
In Spanish speaking countries, this is a number of good luck. According to online casino news in Spain, many call the number 15, “La niña Bonita”. It’s common to use when talking about betting numbers and such, as this began on Bingo parlors back in the day.
The Unlucky Number 17
In Italian culture, many people see the number 17 as an unlucky number. When you look at the numbers as the Roman numerals, XVII, these can be an anagram of VIXI. This in the Latin language it translates to “I have lived”, or in the perfect tense implying “My life is over.” (“Vixerunt”, Cicero’s famous announcement of an execution.) In Italy, you’ll notice that buildings do not have 17th floor and hotels do not have a room numbered 17. Likewise, the Italian airline, Alitalia, does not have a seat 17. in fact, Renault sold its “R17” model in Italy as “R177.”
The Unlucky Number 39
Consider this to be an unlucky number in Afghanistan. Though the number directly translates as “dead cow”, many Afghans associate the word with pimping and prostitution. So strong is this connotation, that vehicles bearing a 39 in the number plate are virtually unsaleable. Likewise with apartment numbers. In Kabul in March 2011, as the state government began to issue registration plates beginning with the number 39. (To make the problem worse, this happened to be 1390 in the Iranian calendar). Many drivers refused to register their cars after purchase, in spite of the threat of fines.
The Unlucky Number 666
There’s actually a word for a fear of these numbers, “Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia”. Of course, we all know this number as it appears in the Book of Revelation: 13:17-18 in the King James Version of the Bible. It states that “the number of the beast” is “six hundred threescores and six” (666). Because the events described in the Revelations are pretty frightening for most people throughout history, it’s of no surprise the number instills such fear and dread. When the former US president Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, moved to Bel-Air, in Los Angeles, they changed the street number of their house from 666 to 668. The US freeway Route 666, suffered a number of accidents and incidents. It became known as the “Devil’s Highway” and was later renamed to U.S. Route 491.
In China, people consider the number 6 to be lucky. And so the connotation of three sixes in a row is even luckier. The word sounds similar to 流 liú which means “to flow” and 溜 liū which means smooth. In Internet-speak for young people, 666 means “cool”. The number is commonly on display in shop windows and on neon signs. Chinese people will happily pay a premium for a 666 phone number. Why not try your luck with this number at any of these online casino sites in Spain. You never know!