Wednesday, July 21, 2010

1,2,3...I better stop there

In western cultures many buildings will not have a 13th floor because the number 13 is considered unlucky. No one really knows why 13 is unlucky but there are many speculations. For instance at the last supper there were 13 people (Jesus and his disciples) and long before the invention of calculators people could only use their fingers to count, there were 10 fingers and 2 fists, so counting to 12 was easy but 13 was illusive.

However, in Korea, 13 is not unlucky, rather, it is unlucky number 4 (pronounced sa). In fact 4 is considered unlucky in most, if not all parts of Asia. Unlike with 13, people know why they consider 4 unlucky. It's simple, the pronunciation of 4 in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cultures is similar to the pronunciation of death in their respective languages

One first realises how entrenched the idea of unlucky number 4 is once they set foot in an elevator. The dial of the elevator is 1,2,3, F (backwards), 5. So a backwards F has been used to replace the death symbol of 4.

What I did not know is that this belief in unlucky number 4 has stretched into the most suprisinging spheres. Nokia has never released a line that begins with the number 4.

Now you know another fact/superstition about the East which is quite different to the West.

Post by Claudia


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