What does the number 9 mean in China’s culture?

Look to the numbers as another reflection of superstition in China.

Here in many Western, Judeo-Christian cultures, 7 is the big one. But it’s another story in China, where certain digits promise good fortune, long life and prosperity.

Let’s take the number 9, for example. What does the the number 9 mean in China’s culture?

Nine is the highest single digit number. It’s not surprising then that the number 9 has come to mean “the highest” in China’s culture, as well as “the most” or even just an unlimited amount of something.

But that’s not all. In Mandarin Chinese, the number 9 also sounds a lot like the character for “long” — as in “a long time” — making it a perfect symbol of eternity. In some parts of China, the number 9 plays a starring role in traditional weddings. It is said that the groom must present a red envelope containing at least 99,999 RMB — or more, provided it is a number made of only 9s — to the bride’s family and friends. Only by presenting this symbol of eternal love can the groom then step into the home of his beloved.

If your product or service has to do with love or romance, why not tap into the power of the number 9? Attending a wedding in China? Consider giving the bride and groom a gift of 999 RMB.

To learn more about what the number 9 means in China’s culture, visit this Wikipedia entry (Chinese).

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