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Blessings Beyond Digits: Number Eight in Chinese Culture

Have you ever wondered why the Chinese seem fixated on the number eight or “ba” (八)? Why does it get chosen over other numbers repeatedly – whether for apartment floors, wedding dates, license plates or mobile numbers? What does the number eight in Chinese mean? There’s no denying that Chinese culture gravitates towards eight, almost revering it. 

So, as the 2024 Lunar New Year arrives filled with possibilities, keep your eye on this lucky number and its historical origins and cultural significance, which may just attract an extra dose of prosperity your way!

Part1. Why Number Eight in Chinese Culture is Considered as Lucky?

In China, numbers are chosen for their similar pronunciations to favorable words. For eight, the Chinese pronunciation “ba” sounds comparable to “fa” (发), meaning prosperity or wealth. There are even expressions linking eight with affluence, like “Bamian laicai” (八面来财), translating to “wealth arriving from all directions”.

Blessings Beyond Digits: Number Eight in Chinese Culture - WuKong Education Blog

The number eight in Chinese symbolizes luck and prosperity, resembling infinity’s endless possibilities

The shape of eight as ∞ infinity symbolizes abundance. These linguistic and graphic associations result in eight representing the promise of flourishing in Chinese culture.

#1. Similar Pronunciation to Words Meaning Prosperity and Wealth

The Mandarin word for eight, “ba” (八), sounds similar to “fa” (发), meaning prosperity. This connects the number eight to the concept of gaining wealth.

#2. Abundance and Infinity Symbolism

Graphically, the shape of eight as an ∞ infinity sign denotes plentitude. This reinforces the eight’s link to auspiciousness.

#3. Phrases and Expressions Related to Number Eight in Chinese

Several Chinese expressions using “eight”, like “Bamian laicai” (八面来财), meaning “wealth arriving from all directions”, associate eight with luck.

Part2. Number Eight Significance Across Chinese Traditions

Beyond verbal and graphic associations, the number eight in Chinese integrates extensively across traditions. From bridal gowns embroidered with eight lucky symbols to eight-sided pagodas built to protect against bad spirits, eight permeates Chinese culture.

#1. Prevalence in Language and Communication

Modern Chinese online lingo uses “eight” for shorthand, like “88” for “bye-bye” based on similar sounds.

#2. Importance in Business Practices

Launching new business ventures and signing contracts purposefully falls on dates containing the number eight in Chinese.

#3. Prominence in Chinese Architecture

Chinese pagodas, palaces, and gateways feature eight sides and levels to invoke fortune.

#4. Religious and Spiritual Significance

Buddhism’s eight-spoked dharma wheel symbolizes the eightfold path. The Chinese folk religion worships the Eight Immortals.

Part3. Examples of Chinese Fondness for the Number Eight

Beyond symbolism and traditions, the Chinese gravitate towards eight in daily-life choices, revealing an embedded cultural preference.

Blessings Beyond Digits: Number Eight in Chinese Culture - WuKong Education Blog

The number eight in Chinese is highly esteemed for its phonetic resemblance to ‘wealth’ and ‘prosper.’ Believed to bring good luck.

#1. Special Dates and Times with Eight

Auspicious dates and times routinely feature the number 8 in Chinese, like 08/08/08 at 8:08 pm for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

#2. High Value Associated with Number Plates and Phone Numbers

Numbers with multiple eights fetch high prices at auctions, like the phone number of all eights sold for millions of yuan.

#3. Gifting Amounts and Quantities with Eight

Fortunate gift sums and amounts contain eight, like ¥6,666 or 99 roses given on Valentine’s Day.

Part4. Comparison of Number Eight in Chinese with Other Lucky Numbers

While number 8 in Chinese numerology tops as the most fortunate, some other numbers also represent positive meaning.

#1. Number Eight in Chinese as the Luckiest

With associations of prosperity and abundance, eight emerges as the most advantageous number.

#2. Number Six Also Considered Fortunate

Six sounds similar to smooth progression in life – making it appealing. Celebrating a 66th birthday brings grand festivity.

#3. Number Nine Symbolizing Longevity

The highest single-digit number, nine, denotes longevity and completeness in Chinese culture.

4. Even Numbers Preferred Over Odd

Belief in harmony generally leads to a preference for even numbers over odd numbers.

Part5. Unlucky Number Four in Contrast to Lucky Number Eight in Chinese

While eight signals bounty, the number four signifies misfortune due to its similarity in sound to “death” in Chinese.

Blessings Beyond Digits: Number Eight in Chinese Culture - WuKong Education Blog

The number four is considered unlucky due to its phonetic similarity to the word for death, in contrast to number eight in Chinese

#1. Pronunciation Similar to Word for Death

The resemblance of four “si” to the word meaning death “si” dooms its standing.

#2. Deliberately Omitted and Avoided

Given the inauspicious connotations, four gets excluded from floor numbers, gifts, sums, and dates.

So, in the Chinese mindset, while one “shi” carries potential, twice that becomes fortune. Through phonetics, graphics, culture and behaviour – eight accrues dividends as the luckiest number. With Chinese New Year fast approaching, will eight usher in a wave of wealth this year?

Part6. FAQs About

Q1. What does the number eight in Chinese culture mean?

The number eight in Chinese, or “ba” (八), is considered the luckiest number in Chinese culture. It sounds similar to the word for prosperity, “fa” (发), and its infinity shape (∞) signals abundance.

Q2. Why is the number eight in Chinese lucky?

The Mandarin word for eight, “ba” (八), has a comparable pronunciation to the word meaning prosperity “fa” (发). The infinity shape of eight (∞) also denotes plentitude. These two factors result in eight representing auspiciousness.

Q3. What makes eight a fortunate number in Chinese culture?

The resemblance of eight’s pronunciation of “ba” to the word “fa”, translating to prosperity, and its lemniscate symbol pointing to affluence combine to make eight a lucky number in China.

Q4. Is 8 a Lucky Number for Chinese People?

Yes, eight is considered the most fortunate number by Chinese people because this number eight in Chinese sounds similar to words symbolizing wealth and its graphical shape signs infinity.


The Chinese have an extensive cultural connection to the number eight or “ba” (八). Through fortunate phonetic resemblances and symbolic infinity associations, eight denotes prosperity. Eight of eight are prominent across customs, architecture, language, business, and spiritual traditions. Simple choices in gifts, dates, addresses, and sums reveal an ingrained preference for eight due to these long-standing beliefs. As the next Chinese New Year dawns, the mystique of this lucky number eight in Chinese culture persists.