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Is 7 lucky in Chinese?

In Chinese culture, certain numbers are considered lucky or unlucky based on how their pronunciations sound similar to other positive or negative words. The number 7 is generally seen as one of the luckier numbers.

What Does the Number 7 Signify in Chinese Culture?

The number 7 is pronounced “qi” (pronounced like “chee”) in Mandarin Chinese. Because of how it is pronounced, the number 7 is associated with several positive meanings in Chinese culture:

  • The word “qi” sounds similar to the Chinese word for “arise” or “up”. So the number 7 connotes upward momentum or growth.
  • “Qi” has the same pronunciation as the Chinese word for “energy” or “life force”. So 7 is tied to vitality and thriving.
  • The number 7’s pronunciation hearkens to the qi (“chee”) energy believed to flow through the body in traditional Chinese medicine. So 7 can represent good health.

In addition to these positive phonetic associations, the number 7 is mathematically viewed as a prime number. Chinese culture values prime numbers and sees them as complete, incorruptible, and indivisible. So being a prime adds to 7’s aura of good fortune.

How Is 7 Used in Chinese Culture to Promote Luck?

The number 7’s lucky connotations lead to it being used in a variety of Chinese customs and practices meant to produce good luck:

  • Chinese people will often choose to hold events like weddings or business openings on dates with many 7s, such as 7/7/2007.
  • Addresses and phone numbers with the number 7 are seen as highly desirable.
  • The 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar is called the Ghost Month and considered inauspicious, so people will avoid major life events during this month.
  • The number 7 can be used in feng shui for positioning objects in ways that are believed to promote positive energy flow.
  • Giving sets of 7 gifts is seen as lucky, like giving 7 jars of honey to a newly married couple.
  • The 7th day of the Chinese New Year is called renri or Humans Day, considered everyone’s birthday.

These are just some examples of how the number 7 and its lucky symbolism permeate different Chinese traditions and superstitions. The number 7 consistently invokes fortune, blessings, and renewal.

What Other Numbers Are Considered Lucky in Chinese Culture?

While 7 is one of the top lucky numbers, there are several other numbers viewed as fortuitous in Chinese culture:

  • 2 – Pronounced “er,” sounding like the word for “easy” or “double.” Indicates things will go smoothly.
  • 3 – Pronounced “san,” sounding like the word for “birth” or “growth.” Indicates continuity.
  • 6 – Pronounced “liu,” sounding like the word for “flow.” Indicates things moving forward.
  • 8 – Pronounced “ba,” sounding like the word for “prosper” or “wealth.” Indicates abundance.
  • 9 – Pronounced “jiu,” sounding like the word for “long lasting.” Indicates longevity.

Multiples of numbers are also seen as lucky, like 88 or 168. The pronunciations of these multiple digit numbers are associated with prosperity, wealth, and other favorable outcomes.

What Numbers Are Unlucky in Chinese Culture?

While some numbers are seen as auspicious, others are viewed as inauspicious and unlucky in Chinese culture. The main unlucky numbers are:

  • 4 – Pronounced “si,” sounding like the word for “death.” Signifies misfortune.
  • 5 – Pronounced “wu,” sounding like a word for “nothing.” Implies bad luck.
  • 13 – Pronounced “shisan,” similar to the phrase “for sure dead.” Associated with doom.
  • 14 – Pronounced “shisi,” very similar to the phrase “for sure dead.” Also indicates doom.

Just as lucky numbers are used in positive expressions of Chinese culture, unlucky numbers are avoided in things like important addresses, phone numbers, and dates for major life events.

Are There Exceptions to Number Superstitions?

While number customs are widely observed in Chinese culture, there are some exceptions and deviations from popular superstitions:

  • The number 4 is sometimes seen as acceptable for phones and addresses, as it sounds like “si” meaning “death” but also “si” meaning “easy.”
  • The number 13 is occasionally used, as it sounds like “shisan” meaning both “definite death” and “definite prosperity.”
  • Cultural traditions like feng shui may balance unlucky numbers with lucky ones rather than avoid them altogether.
  • Young, modern Chinese people may not adhere as strongly to traditional number beliefs.
  • Some dialects have different pronunciations for numbers that change their meaning.

So while patterns like 7 and 8 being lucky and 4 and 13 being unlucky prevail, Chinese culture is diverse enough that variations and flexibility can be found in relation to number customs.

What Other Chinese Superstitions Relate to Luck?

Beyond numbers, several other Chinese beliefs and practices relate to cultivating good fortune or avoiding bad luck:

  • Giving certain gifts like clocks or handkerchiefs is taboo, as the Chinese word for those items sounds like the word for “attending a funeral” or “terminating a relationship.”
  • Keeping a fish aquarium and having lucky bamboo in the home is thought to promote wealth and health.
  • Avoiding unlucky colors like white and black for big celebrations like weddings.
  • Eating long noodles on your birthday, as their length symbolizes long life.
  • Feng shui principles for furniture arrangement to optimize energy flow in the home.

Chinese culture is rich in traditions meant to harness good fortune and deflect bad luck. Number symbolism forms a major part of this, with 7 holding major significance as a lucky digit.


In Chinese culture, the number 7 is one of the most auspicious, lucky numbers. Pronounced “qi,” it sounds similar to words for vitality, health, and upward growth. 7’s lucky symbolism leads to it being favored for major life events, addresses, gifts, and more. Other numbers like 8 and 9 also have lucky connotations, while 4 and 13 are viewed as unlucky. While number customs are widely observed, exceptions exist regionally and generationally. The ubiquity of lucky 7 and other number superstitions reflects how fortune and fate remain central to Chinese worldview.