Lucky is a divisive concept. Some people believe strongly in everything from rabbit’s feet, four-leaf clovers, and horseshoes, whereas other people are confident that we make our luck and that no matter how many shooting stars you wish on, what is going to happen will happen.
That said, in cultures all around the world there are different ideas as to what makes a number lucky and which numbers are luckiest for their community.
In China the word for the number eight sounds like the word for “prosper” and it is said to be the luckiest number in China. In fact, China’s opening ceremony for their summer Olympics was at 8:08 pm on 8/8/08! Car registration plates that have a number eight on them (or perhaps even more than one!) are highly sought after and often go for a lot of money.
In Norway, number nine is a sacred number due to its use in Norse mythology, such as Aegir and Ran’s nine daughters, the nine days and night that Odin spent hanging in the tree and the fact that the Vikings spared nine of prisoners and sacrificed the tenth to a sea God.
In Celtic culture, four is a very lucky number, due to the good fortune that is expected with four-leaf clovers. However, it is incredibly feared in China as the word for four sounds similar to the word for death!
You may have heard the saying “unlucky for some” when discussing the number 13, and that is true. Many Western countries think that the number thirteen brings bad luck, however, in Italy, it is seen as good luck as it represents St Anthony, the patron saint of finding things.
Number three is a very popular lucky number around the world. Swedish people believe that “All good things must come in threes” and Italians feel that the three sides of a triangle show balance and strength.
In Russia, any odd numbers are seen as lucky because only an even number of flowers are given as part of a funeral, and so odd numbers are seen as good luck.
There is a reason that we have gone for seven items in this article – it is the most significant ‘lucky’ number across a huge range of cultures. In fact, in an independent survey of 30,000 people, a huge 10% of individuals stated that 7 is their lucky number, despite having an infinite number of numbers to choose from! It was the most significant number in the Harry Potter series, and it was certainly lucky for JK Rowling!