While traveling in picturesque Beijing a year before the 2008 Olympics, my fun tour guide talked about lucky numbers. The number 8 was and is considered a very lucky number. She explained that this is the reason why the Beijing Olympics was scheduled to open on August 8th, 2008 – making the date read 8/8/8. Ahhh! I love reasons for why things are done.

Because I enjoy feng-shui, I did know a bit about the auspicious number 8 but wasn’t aware of the connection to the opening date for the Beijing Olympics. (As a matter of fact after I found out about the Olympic date, a year later on that date, I decided to play the number 888 – see the * below to see what happened).

Exactly why is the number 8 considered lucky?

According to Lillian Too, the Queen of feng-shui, the number 8 is widely regarded as a universally lucky number. This is because phonetically, in many dialects, it sounds like ‘growth with prosperity.’ Therefore, many people try to incorporate the number 8 in their telephone number (I’ve done this), on bank accounts, on car license plates, and on addresses, etc.

Also, according to Lillian Too, what makes the number 8 even more auspicious is that we are now in the 20 year cycle of the number 8. This cycle began in the lunar year of 2004 and will run through 2024. Thus, the very lucky number 8 is now in the 20 year cycle of the number 8.

Meanwhile, back in Beijing…

Back in Beijing, the tour guide went on to explain the feng-shui implications of lucky numbers. As someone who loves and practices the art of feng-shui (which is why I bought the bok choy – see link below), I was an eager listener.

Among many other bits of wisdom, my tour guide told me that if I wanted to go back to the US and make a lot of money, I should open a club and name it ’98.’ She assured me that it would do well with Chinese people. I haven’t opened a club but I did investigate the number 9. I found out that It is best for 9 to be followed by 8 (thus the name for the club as my tour guide said). The number 9 is especially lucky since 9 multiplied by any number of times, then reduced to a single number, always reduces to 9. Fun!

For example: 9 x 3 = 27 and 2 plus 7 = 9

or: 9 x 9 = 81 and 8 plus 1 = 9.

(I tell my students this so they can check their answers when they multiply a number by 9)

And I did buy a lucky bok choy (or pak choi) at the jade factory (see link below). And there is a story that goes with this.

The story that goes with the lucky bok choy

Prior to visiting Beijing I was living in Seoul. My feng-shui partner Christine, and I had discovered in a Lillian Too book, that the bok choy is auspicious. So we set out for the China Town in Korea in search of a bok choy and other lucky items. We didn’t find exactly what we were looking for – we wanted something fancier and made of jade. But now, here I was in the land of feng-shui with a tour guide saying all sorts of lucky feng-shui things including how lucky the bok choy is. And a jade factory was nearby.

At the jade factory, there must have been hundreds of bok choys, one more beautiful than the next – and in every price range. I bought one. Has it brought me great luck? I don’t know, but I feel very lucky! Feng-shui has predicted, for me, an ox (or water buffalo, or in Korea – a cow) – that next month begins much prosperity and abundance. So…I am prepared to welcome it.

And why is the number 4 considered unlucky?

While the number 8 is considered extremely lucky, the number 4 is considered to be the most unlucky. This is because the number 4 sounds like ‘death’ in many dialects. This was also true when I lived in S. Korea. When I was on an elevator in a tall building I noticed that each floor was numbered except number 4 – that was written out in English so it would be pronounced that way.

What happened when I played the number 888 on August 8, 2008

*Do many other people think the number 8 is lucky? Absolutely. When the opening day of the Olympics came on August 8, 2008 (8/8/8), I decided to play the number – something I have done maybe five times in my life. Yes, I would go out and play 888 and be one of only a few people in the whole world that knew about the lucky number 8 on that particular day. I told a lot of my friends. Around 11am I casually strolled up the block and around the corner to play the number. I was told ‘Sorry, sold out!’ Huh? Convinced that the store clerk didn’t know what he was talking about I went to another store. Yes, the number 888 was sold out – and had been for quite awhile. I had no idea that it was limited how many people can play a particular number – but a lot of people did and played early. The number 888 did not play that day but a friend told me that one number 8 was in the three digit winning number.

Good luck wherever you may find it!

Adapted from http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Lucky-Number-8

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