Surprising Superstitions about Numbers around the World

Ashley | 11 - 11 - 2020
Surprising Superstitions about Numbers around the World

Have you heard of anyone saying Friday the 13th is an unlucky day? And 666 is the number of devils? But what are the unlucky numbers other than these? And why are they considered so? Here is a list of many other common superstitious numbers and beliefs that people follow around the world. This article will tell you different superstitions about numbers around the world.



In Chinese, number 4 is considered unlucky. The pronunciation of the word four is considered similar to the word ‘death’ in Cantonese. Buildings in China are built skipping the fourth floor. Many people in Asia avoid using number four in number plates and as house numbers. But in contrast to the opinion, some people believe number four to be lucky because many things that nature offers us come in four groups. People also claim that, if you do not use Cantonese dialect it is okay to use number four. According to feng shui tradition, encircling number 4 with color red is considered one of the remedies because red is thought to be a lucky color.

What Is the Fear of Numbers Called?
  • A. Arithmophobia
  • B. Verbophobia
  • C. Acrophobia
  • D. None of the Above


Is number 13 cursed? This is considered one of the unlucky numbers around the world because it was often associated with early Christmas. It has appeared in certain Biblical traditions. There is a common belief that when 13 people have dinner together, 1 might die within a year. This is because there were 13 people present in the last supper, Jesus along with his 12 apostles. The fear of the number 13 was even found during the ancient times in the Mesopotamian code of Hammurabi. When the laws are numbered, the number 13 along with 66 and 99 are skipped. The fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia. Mostly, people skip the 13the floor of the building due to this fear. Particularly, Friday the 13 was considered to be unlucky. The exact origin of the fear is still unknown but it is called paraskevidekatriaphobia.



Friday the 17th is considered unlucky by some Italians because of its arrangement. Some people claim that it was started in ancient Rome. The number 17 in Roman numerals would be XVII, when changed anagrammatically it represents VIXI. This indicates a Latin language phrase “I have lived” which indirectly means “My life is over”. Another reason is the old testament of the Bible which refers to the great flood that happened on the 17th of the month. But why is Friday the 17th? Because Friday is considered unlucky because of Venerdì Santo(Good Friday) which was the day Jesus died. There is one more day when it is considered the most unluckiest of all. It is when Friday the 17th falls in November as it is called “the month of the deceased” as November 2nd is a memorial day to the deceased. This day is also called All Souls’ Day.



It is considered a Bad-Luck Number in Afghanistan. Many afghans consider number 39 a curse or a shame as it was often associated with prostitution. There was a popular story of a pimp. Many claim that he expensive car’s number plate and the number of his apartment was 39, hence he was nicknamed ‘39’. This number was said to translate to morda-gow which literally means ‘dead cow’(also known as pimp in slang words). If you call someone a pimp in Afghanistan it is considered offensive and it might carry deadly consequences. Though many people debate that 39 is just a number, those who have 39 in their license plate or apartment number are considered a shame. Therefore, people who live there, cover or change their number plates or post office box, if they get the particular number. When the vehicle registration number reached 39,000, people waited patiently for the number to pass.


The fear of the number 666 is called Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. It is often considered “the number of the beast” or “the sign of the devil” and is recently known as the number of the Antichrist. In chapter 13 of The Book of Revelation, it reads: “Let the one with understanding reckon the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.” The word reckon indicates ‘calculate’ or ‘solve’ in Greek.

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