Generally, every person has their own superstitions of which numbers they find lucky or unlucky. There tend to be common global beliefs on this matter, such as 13 being an unlucky number. Asian communities are known to have many superstitions with numbers. We will be looking at these superstitions in Thai and Chinese cultures today.
In Thai Culture, odd numbers are generally considered to be lucky. The most favored number out of the bunch is the number 9 – symbols, meanings.In Chinese Culture, the two most favored numbers are the number 2 (good things come in pairs) and 8 while the least favored is the number 4 (si – sounds like death) – symbols, meanings. The norms in the two cultures are very similar, and such can be seen in lottery, license plate, and even phone numbers.
The meanings and symbols behind numbers signify many positive and negative aspects of life.People believe that by valuing luck through numbers they would be given a possibility of gaining prosperity and fortune in their lives. The value for these beliefs are generally high.
The source for the belief in numbers are not clearly signified, but is believed to have originated from a long time ago. Especially in the Chinese culture, most of it could have been caused by passing on the beliefs from generations and gained much popularity along the way. This can be evidenced by Chinese calendar dates that are in wide use when picking out auspicious dates for weddings or even celebrations. Some old addresses also reflect these beliefs (e.g. number of high-rise buildings, blocks, etc.)
Along the way, the superstitions in numbers also cause conflict in daily lives. In a community like Thailand where many of its people are Thai-Chinese by ethnicity, there tends to be many separate beliefs. For example the number 0 is considered unlucky by Thais, but do not mean anything in the Chinese culture. This difference can play a role in setting the two cultures apart when the people have to decide which Cultural Identity they would prefer to follow: Thai or Chinese. Also, being too superstitious on numbers can be damaging for a person in terms of the money and effort put to use in the matter. In money bets such as lottery or gambling, superstitious people would go for their lucky numbers and bet a lot of money on it thinking that they will receive a bigger reward. The possibility for this to happen, in actuality is not 100%. Thus they could suffer a bigger loss and gain if they rely too much on their luck.
Who shares it All over the world – personal lucky and unlucky numbers Common global beliefs – e.g. 13 is unlucky Asian communities have many superstitions with numbers Thai and Chinese superstitions
Why is it Intermediate Level? Thai Culture – odd numbers are lucky Symbols: 9 can be translated to mean "to enter” and is close to the word "rice” Meanings: “Kgaona” – progress, “Kao” Chinese Culture – 2 and 8 are the most lucky; 4 is the most unlucky Symbols: 8 sounds similar to the word “prosper” Meanings: “fā” – prosper or wealth Norms: Lottery, license plate, phone numbers
What does it show? Numbers could signify many positive and negative aspects of life. Apart from hard work and determination, people also valued luck for their successes and prosperity in life. High values.
Deep-level Culture source No clear source Beliefs could have originated long ago, passed down through generations A group of people valued luck and prosperity through numbers, popularity grew Evidence: Chinese calendar dates, addresses
Conflicts Multi-racial communities Thai-Chinese – disagreeing on which numbers are valued Too superstitious on numbers – can result in loss of money and effort (e.g. lottery, money bets)
Who shares it Northeast area of Thailand Sometimes also in central Thailand Common in rural/dry areas Agricultural culture
Why is it Intermediate Level? Rain – Purity, Goodness Believed to be gifts from the god of rain Shoot rockets to the sky as a signal for need to the god Lack of Rain – Degradation of humans Must plead with the divine powers for rain (essential for agricultural-centered communities) Cat – Hate water, “Meow” when rains Spray cat with water so it cries out -> rain
What does it show? Value placed on agriculture Adaptation of the belief system to fit: - agricultural culture - local climate Sense of community
Deep-level Culture source Animism – There are spirits in every element of nature Supernatural happenings Well-beings of human beings are influenced by higher powers
Conflicts Animal cruelty? Pointless? Western perspective: Scientific explanations Scientific methods to solve drought problems
National pride- To Americans the game was seen of more of just a friendly match but to the Chinese this was less important. The Chinese use sports to promote diplomacy, at times that has been affected by violent flare-ups by players and fans. American/China relations- The Americans where there for a friendly match that where doing a good will match tour. They want to win and one punch starts, an all out fight. Face- When there was a incident on a court, the Chinese player felt they lost face which then lead him to retaliate in order to regain some face Deep Level Cultural Aspect
The Americans came there for good will publicity in China. The Chinese wanted to win to lose was to lose face which is a huge issue in China. These two opposing mind sets contradicted on the court and only took a minor incident to spark a major brawl How might it cause Conflict?
Two sides of the conflict Americans Were there for a friendly match Collegiate basketball players Chinese There for a friendly match but national pride was on the line Chinese army team
Wanting to win It was supposed to be a friendly match but national pride was on the line Student athlete vs Army Athlete Different socioeconomic statuses of opposing teams Rich vs poor The idea of face really affected the Chinese. Why is it Intermediate Level?