Generally, Americans do not believe in myths, but we laugh at the old customs, such as:
Number 1 in America, today means... "we are the best", or "America is the best", etc. It is meant in half-jest more than being serious. In ancient times, I believe this number to the Greeks and Romans meant... "the supreme being", "the God", etc.
2 has no myth about it other than it seems to mean some sort of "prosperity" or good fortune... maybe this is the same all over the world. Example: An American is a "success" if he has a "two-car garage". Also, if you get two people to believe in something, you have a consensus to do something about it. (Old expression... "1 person plus 1 person equals 11 people")
3 is sort of a religious symbol... the "Trinity" of the Christian religion. It also has some ancient "evil" connotations, such as the Greek trident and the devil's trident. "Strike three" in baseball, you are out.
4 has very little myth significance anymore in America. In more ancient times, 4 represented the "4 horsemen of the apocalypse" (sp?), Pestilence, famine, calamity and war.
5 the only myth associated with 5 is the 5-pointed star, which is vaguely associated with ancient witchcraft, but most Americans don't care one way or the other... 5 has lost its evil significance, and the star symbol has been significantly upgraded to become a positive sign.
6 is probably the most suspect number of the first ten numbers. Not evil, but not a comfortable number.
7 is absolutely the most lucky number to Americans, in my opinion.
8 and 9 contain no more mythology of the past, but are usually used to signify "very good" as they are close to 10. 8 has good ancient meanings... such as 4 pairs of anything, I believe, is "prosperity".
10 means "perfect"... "score a ten", "rated a 10 out of 10". However, in some recent times... a "number 10" was considered bad... but 10 is now generally a positive.
13 is the present day unluckiest number to Americans. Friday the 13th is considered the most unlucky day, of any month it should appear. Most corporate buildings do not have a 13th floor. Persons have been known to refuse to rent a hotel room on 13th floors. This myth is very much alive in America.
But most of us laugh at all these myths... no real significance anymore.
The recurring "666" symbol, whenever it rarely appears, is considered extremely unlucky, but is seen so rarely, it has lost its significance. In ancient times, 999 was considered good luck.
I am told the Chinese and Asians have an entirely different set of myths and superstitions about numbers, and I would like to know what they might be, and what significance you place on these numbers.
What are the good luck numbers, and what are the bad luck numbers in your culture?
Thank you for any thoughts.
PS... on a sidenote, I heard a Chinese couple refused to buy a home on Long Island because the Kitchen did not have a window facing the Eastern morning sky! It violated their beliefs, and a Kitchen facing West meant "death". ??? True?
Edited by Ed Ziomek, 13 October 2005 - 04:16 AM.