Chinese culture twirls between the notions of unlucky and lucky colours, dates, crystals, numbers and more for harnessing good luck, wealth, and prosperity. Chinese astrology is based on mystical traditions, where numbers are used with extreme caution based on the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ connotations attached to them. Do you know that the concept of the Chinese zodiac lucky or unlucky numbers is guided by homophony? This means that if the pronunciation of the number and that of another word carrying a positive connotation sound similar, that numeral would be deemed lucky or fortunate. Meanwhile, if the word matching the number’s pronunciation is negative, the digit becomes unlucky.
While many people familiarise themselves with the lucky numbers based on their zodiac sign, it’s equally important to be aware of unlucky numbers that have the potential to afflict misery and doom. For example, the number 8 is considered extremely lucky in Chinese culture as its pronunciation is similar to the phrase which means ‘making fortune’. On the other hand, the Chinese pronunciation of ‘4’ is similar to the word for ‘death’. Hence it’s largely considered unlucky.
We’ve curated a handy guide of unlucky numbers based on your Chinese zodiac sign that you should avoid when possible.
Here are the unlucky numbers based on your Chinese zodiac sign
Rat – 9, 5
Birth Years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Thr hard and diligent worker rat has an excellent understanding of human nature and is often approached by many for advice. While rat-born folks are quick-witted and smart, they lack courage which makes them incapable of taking leadership roles.
Number 5 (pronounced wu) means ‘without’ or ‘not’ in the Chinese language and is considered to bring bad luck. It’s also associated with discontent, restlessness and hasty decision making, all of which cloud rat’s intelligence. Meanwhile, number 9 represents endings and closures, casting an unfavourable light on rats that restrains them from venturing into new career paths or forging relationships.
The lucky numbers for rat are 2 and 3.
Ox – 5, 6
Birth Years: 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
While patience and honesty are the best-known traits of all ox-born folks, the sign can be extremely stubborn at times. The hard-working ox can toil for long hours without complaining and loves its independence. You don’t want to challenge the zodiac sign’s typically calm persona, which can unleash its violent side.
The number 5 triggers this sign’s anxiety and restlessness, devoiding them of calmness. 5 also represents emotional unpredictability and indiscipline. On the other hand, 6 brings out this sign’s dullness and they’re judged uncompetitive. It also makes the ox vulnerable to people’s bad intentions.
The lucky numbers for ox are 1 and 4.
Tiger – 7, 8
Birth Years: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
The powerful charmers represent all magnanimous things and make great leaders owing to their persistent character. Once they set their mind to something it’s almost impossible to dissuade them, however, this over-confidence often translates to stubbornness and arrogance. The fearless tiger never shies away from speaking its mind and you can never find a more honest companion than them.
In Chinese culture, 7 has both positive and negative connotations but it only embodies the latter for tiger born. It represents unsteadiness and is associated with cheating, which stands in complete contrast with tiger’s traits. Meanwhile, number 8 makes them come across as a little dictatorial and extreme.
The lucky numbers for tiger are 1, 3 and 4.
Rabbit – 1, 7, 8
Birth Years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
Always faithful to those around them, this sign has strong friendship and family values (in addition to being dedicated lovers)! They’re reluctant to open up to others and live in their own dream world. This conservative and hesitant nature often slows their journey to success.
Number 1 is associated with arrogance, self-centeredness as well as dominance, all of which stand in complete contrast to rabbit’s caring personality. Number 7 promotes independence and isolation and as a result, this sign can end up feeling lonely, Lastly, a negative number 8 brings with it feelings of sorrow, misery and struggle and lead to self-destruction.
The lucky numbers for rabbit are 3, 4 and 6
Dragon – 3, 8
Birth Years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Snake – 1,6,7
Birth Years: 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Snakes are highly intuitive and wisest among all other signs, observing everything calmly without saying much. They only trust their own judgment to accomplish goals and hate failures. These private beings don’t like much interference and it’s best to allow them their own space and time to get back to normalcy.
Number 1 makes the snakes appear egotistic and boastful, while number 6 brings out an ‘irritatingly self-righteous’ side of this sign. Lastly, number 7 heightens this sign’s feelings of detachment from others, and they may be deemed selfish by others.
The lucky numbers for snake are 2, 8 and 9
Horse – 1, 5, 6
Birth Years: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014
Warm-hearted, enthusiastic, and positive – Horse-born folks attract a lot of friends owing to their amiable character. Independence is also their strong suit, helping them overcome obstacles and garner success without much external help. The sign’s spendthrift nature often lands them in trouble and they’re always chasing vanity. While they don’t intend to hurt others’ feelings, their frank and outgoing nature may offend people in conversations.
Number 1 dulls the Horse’s friendly persona, and they tend to lean towards a more self-centric side. On the other hand, 5 screams overconfidence and often hinders the sign’s path to success. Lastly, number 6 also fosters feelings of arrogance in snakes.
The lucky numbers for horse are 2, 3 and 7
Goat – 4, 9
Birth Years: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
Shy and gentle those born in the year of the goat are filled with kindheartedness and sympathy for all beings, which is why they make the best companions. Their perseverance helps them quickly acquire professional skills and they don’t even fall behind on creativity. Goats shy away from being the centre of attention, often preferring to move in groups. The sign’s constant need for validation often translates to low self-esteem as well as feelings of insecurity.
Number 4 is one of the unluckiest numbers in Chinese culture as it rhymes with death. It robs the sign of all imagination, making them too serious and confused. On the other hand, 9 shadows the goat’s gentle aura and they’re perceived as egotistical and self-righteous.
The lucky numbers for goat are 2 and 7
Monkey – 2, 7
Birth Years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
Sharp, smart as well as notorious, monkeys beam with cleverness and are gifted with an artistic side. They’re always willing to take initiative and their sociable nature helps them forge great contacts for career progression. However, this sign treats its views to be morally higher than those held by others, and they don’t mind being dishonest to get ahead in life.
Number 2 attracts indecisiveness and emotional instability, which slowers this sign’s growth. Meanwhile, number 7 instils feelings of detachment and isolation in monkeys, which can hamper their relationships.
The lucky numbers for monkey are 4 and 9.
Rooster – 1, 3, 9
Birth Years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Roosters are loyal as well as devoted folks, who always stay true to their promises and commitments. While they’re usually nonchalant and peaceful, their temper shoots up when they’re wrongly questioned or confronted about their intentions. Their self-absorbed nature makes them extremely critical of others, and they constantly brag about their achievements which screams pompousness.
Number 1 brings out this sign’s dominant and aggressive traits, which makes people around them uncomfortable. The downside of number 3 is that it plays on Rooster’s impulsiveness, and they often end up taking decisions without thinking through the consequences. Lastly, 9 brings out the sign’s terrible temper which ruins their so-called perfect public image.
The lucky numbers for rooster are 5, 7 and 8.
Dog – 1, 6, 7
Birth Years: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Dogs will go miles and beyond for people important to them, showcasing a strong sense of loyalty and honesty. Unfortunately, the sign lacks good communication skills, which makes it difficult for people to understand their thoughts. This creates an air of secrecy as well as stubbornness around this sign. Dogs mostly lean towards pessimism, thinking that the world’s an evil and complicated place.
Number 1 reflects the Dog’s stubborn side, making them unbearable to hang out with. Possessive, jealous as well as narrow-minded – number 6 is attached to traits polar opposite to dog’s character. Lastly, 7 implies terrible people skills which is again in complete contradiction to dog’s people-pleasing nature.
The lucky numbers for dog are 3, 4 and 9
Pig – 1, 7
Birth Years: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Finally, ending the Chinese zodiac cycle is the luckiest sign Pig. Whether it’s professional or personal endeavours, pigs have a higher possibility of being successful and minting wealth. However, they’re not equipped with managing this wealth, so it’s better to not give them any financial responsibility. Moreover, they trust people easily and find it difficult to refuse a proposition, leading to gullibility.
Number 1 makes pigs more susceptible to treachery by clouding their sensibilities. Lastly, number 7 can restrict the sign’s growth.
The lucky numbers for pig are 2, 5 and 8
Hero image: Courtesy GregMontani/Pixabay; Feature image: Courtesy Pixabay