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The Auspicious Number 6 in Chinese Culture: Symbolism and Significance

by Aaron Isaacs 0 Comments

In the tapestry of Chinese tradition, numbers are imbued with deep cultural significance, with the number 6 (六, liù) standing out as particularly auspicious. Its positive connotations are rooted in language, historical texts, and cultural practices, making it a symbol of smoothness, luck, and prosperity. This blog explores the rich symbolism and significance of the number 6 in Chinese culture, drawing on literary references and historical context to understand its enduring appeal.

Symbolism of Number 6

The number 6 is revered in Chinese culture due to its phonetic closeness to the word '流' (liú), which means "to flow" in English and symbolizes that everything will go smoothly. This connection is deeply embedded in the Chinese psyche, influencing various aspects of daily life, from business operations to personal milestones.

Historical and Literary References


  1. Classic of Changes (易经, Yìjīng): This ancient text, also known as the I Ching, is one of the oldest Chinese classics and a foundational source for Chinese thought. It mentions the number 6 in the context of the hexagrams, where it represents the yin lines and is associated with flexibility, receptivity, and the nurturing aspects of nature. The symbolism here reinforces the idea of harmony and balance, qualities that are highly valued in Chinese philosophy.

  2. Feng Shui: While not a written text, the practice of Feng Shui, which aims to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment, often utilizes the number 6 to attract positive energy. It's believed that hanging six coins in a home or office can enhance wealth and prosperity, a practice supported by the belief in the number's ability to ensure smooth progress and protection.

Cultural Practices and Beliefs

The preference for the number 6 manifests in various aspects of Chinese life. It's considered good luck to receive gifts or money in multiples of 6 during significant celebrations such as weddings, Lunar New Year, and business openings. This tradition stems from the belief that doing so will ensure longevity, success, and a smooth path forward.

Modern Implications

Today, the auspiciousness of the number 6 continues to influence decisions in business, such as pricing products, setting dates for important events, and choosing phone numbers, license plates, and addresses. Its perceived ability to bring good fortune makes it a sought-after number in transactions and negotiations.

The number 6 holds a special place in Chinese culture, representing more than just a numeral but embodying a deep-seated belief in harmony, prosperity, and smooth progression. Its significance, rooted in ancient texts and practices, continues to influence contemporary life, reflecting the enduring nature of cultural symbols and their impact on collective consciousness.



  • "The I Ching or Book of Changes," translated by Richard Wilhelm, Cary F. Baynes, Princeton University Press, is a primary source that discusses the philosophical significance of numbers in Chinese culture.
  • "Feng Shui: Harmony by Design," by Nancy SantoPietro, explores the practical applications of numbers in Feng Shui practices to enhance personal and professional environments.

Note: While specific ancient texts like the "Classic of Changes" provide foundational insights into the cultural significance of numbers, the interpretations of the number 6's auspiciousness also draw from a broader cultural and historical context rather than direct quotations from these works.

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