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The Auspicious Number 8 in Chinese Culture: Symbolism and Historical Significance

by Aaron Isaacs 0 Comments

In the realm of Chinese traditional culture, numbers are not just mathematical symbols but carry deep symbolic meanings and influence daily life, practices, and beliefs. Among these, the number 8 stands out for its profound auspiciousness and significance. Known as "" (bā) in Mandarin, the number 8 is synonymous with prosperity, wealth, and success. This blog post delves into the cultural and historical significance of the number 8 in Chinese tradition, supported by references to ancient texts and cultural practices.

Symbolism of Number 8

The number 8 is considered extremely lucky in Chinese culture due to its phonetic resemblance to the word "" (fā), which means wealth or prosper in Mandarin. This association has made the number 8 a symbol of abundance and success, deeply sought after in various aspects of life, including business, marriage dates, vehicle registration numbers, and more.

Historical and Literary References

  1. Feng Shui: The ancient art of Feng Shui, which harmonizes individuals with their surrounding environment, places great importance on the number 8. It is believed that having a home or office that incorporates the number 8 can bring prosperity and happiness to its inhabitants.
  2. I Ching (The Book of Changes): The I Ching, one of the oldest Chinese classics, introduces the concept of the "Ba Gua" (八卦), or the eight trigrams, which are fundamental to the book's divination practices. Each trigram consists of three lines, each line either "broken" or "unbroken," representing yin and yang. These eight symbols are core to understanding the cosmic and human realms' interconnectedness, reflecting the number 8's significance in achieving balance and harmony.

  3. The Eight Immortals (八仙): In Chinese mythology, the Eight Immortals are a group of legendary figures, each possessing a power that can be seen as a metaphor for the transformative powers of the number 8. Their stories, which have been depicted in various Chinese art and literature, emphasize the number's association with magic, resilience, and the ability to overcome obstacles.

Cultural Practices and Beliefs

In modern China, the number 8 continues to be revered and incorporated into life's milestones. For instance, the Beijing Olympics in 2008 began at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 PM on August 8th, emphasizing the number's auspiciousness. Additionally, in business, transactions, and technology, the number 8 is often integrated into prices, product names, and phone numbers to attract good fortune.

Conclusion The number 8's significance in Chinese culture is a testament to the enduring power of numerology and symbolism in shaping beliefs, practices, and decisions. Its auspicious connotations, rooted in ancient texts and cultural traditions, continue to influence contemporary life, reflecting the deep-seated human desire for prosperity, balance, and harmony.


  • "The I Ching or Book of Changes" – Richard Wilhelm, Cary F. Baynes (Translator). This work offers insight into the philosophical underpinnings of Chinese numerology.
  • "Chinese Mythology: An Introduction" – Anne Birrell. This book delves into the legends of the Eight Immortals, exploring their significance in Chinese folklore and the symbolic meaning of the number 8.

Note: While specific ancient texts and practices highlight the number 8's significance, the interpretation of its auspiciousness also draws from a broader cultural and historical context rather than direct quotations from these works.

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