I have lived in Shanghai for 5 months this week. One thing that is odd about all cultures are their superstitions. Now I have not researched this nor am I comparing many superstitions, but as the title implies I am discussing numbers. Americans will understand that 13 is an unlucky number; there are no 13th rows in airplanes, many buildings skip the 13th floor, Friday the 13th… and so on. Chinese people will note some of the same observations with the number 4. The last building I lived in omitted any floor that had a 4 in it. There were floors 3, 3A… 13, 13A… 23, 23A (the one I lived on). Now I have not observed the omitted airplane rows or other things but I have discussed this missing 4 thing with many Chinese people, co-workers, my wife, friends of my wife, and it turns out buildings are especially prone to this missing 4 issue. This missing 4 is because the Chinese word for four and death are very similar. So it is considered unlucky to live on a floor that sounds so close to this rather disturbing word.
In our modern times it is amazing some superstitions still survive and thrive. Spilling salt and throwing if over your left shoulder to prevent bad luck, walking under a ladder, having a black cat cross your path, breaking a mirror, etc. These are but a few Western superstitions. Can some Chinese folks help me out and leave comments on Chinese or Asian superstitions? I think this is a good topic to explore the differences and similarities between peoples and maybe fun too. I hope to use the last few days of my blog exposure to have a better exchange on ideas and thoughts between East and West.