Lucky number eight

In just a couple of weeks, the 2008 Summer Olympic games will begin. China as you know, will host this year's event. Back in March I heard that China had been biding to get the rights to host the games on 2008 for quite a while, and apparently when they first requested this, it became a hot topic. Then I dug a bit deeper and found that back in 87, they wanted to get the 2000 Summer Olympics spot; obviously that didn't happen.

China finally got their chance to host the games and they picked a very strategic date and time for it to start. It seems that the delays on getting approved to host the games worked for their advantage. The official date and time for the games to start is: 2008-08-08 at 8:08. The year 2008, the eighth month, on the eighth day, on the eighth minute of the eighth hour, yeah, that's a mouthfull of "ths".

The choice to have the games commence on that date and time goes back to the ancient beliefs in numbers. It seems that Chinese culture has deeply ingrained beliefs about the significance of numbers.

I know I'm not the only one interested on this stuff, so I gathered a bunch of other interesting trivia about the whole numbers thing...

According to msnbc in 2004, someone in China paid $215,000 for a lucky cell phone number. He got a number with the maximum number of 3s, which is a lucky number in China. The number 8 is even luckier, but because Chinese phone numbers begin with “!3″, the grouping of 3s is apparently even more valuable. The number: 133-3333-3333.

Three and eight are lucky, 4 is Highly unlucky. Two Chinese cities went so far as to ban the number 4 from license places. And you won’t find the 4th or 14th floors on many Chinese buildings.

That leads me to a story about how numbers relate to business strategy and branding. Palm recently released the Tungsten T5 handheld, the successor to the T3. Why no T4?

globalbydesign blog

So, why is the number 8 considered lucky in the minds of Chinese people. The main reason has to do with the pronunciation of the word for the number 8 in China. It is pronounced "ba" and sounds like the word for prosperity which is pronounced "fa". Another reason why the number 8 could be considered lucky is because it is a perfect symmetrical shape. You can cut the number 8 in half vertically or horizontally, and both halves mirror themselves perfectly. Perfect symmetry lends itself to perfect balance. In Chinese Astrology, perfect balance is considered the ideal.

In China you have to pay extra to have the number 8 in your phone number or license plate. In addition, home and business owners like to have the number 8 in their address. Yahoo Answers.

...the number 8 is considered very lucky by many Chinese because of its linguistic characteristics. The word "eight" sounds like "prosper" or "wealth" in Pinyin, a common romanization of Mandarin.

The number 8 is also the base of our data representation in our computing system. In a byte there are 8 bits, the most basic unit of measurement of computational data.

The number 8 is the smallest number with more than 2 factors that is also a perfect cube with two to the third power equals 8. It is also a Fibonacci number, which are numbers in the series 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc. These numbers are special in nature because they show up in growth patterns of many plants and animals.

People really take it seriously...

"I'm running the 8th section in the Olympic torch relay in Bangkok, starting right at the our branch bank in the China Town. 8 is my lucky number," Banthoon Lamsam told Xinhua breezily on the eve of the April 19 relay. - Torch Relay

The 6, 8 and 9 keys on ATMs made by Diebold Inc. wear out first because those "are considered lucky numbers in China," according to spokesman Joseph Richardson. - WSJ

Movies with the number 8.

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