Sunday, July 25, 2010

The number eight

Traditional Chinese culture is teeming with customs and beliefs which are well, for a lack of a better word, “foreign” to me. Yet, this year I have been fortunate enough to learn about many of the beliefs and even participate in some of the ceremonies to gain a greater understanding of these ancient and deeply sacred values (see tossing Yu Sheng salad, Ten Treasures soup, feng shui, and attending a mother/child one-month coming out party to name a few).

One cultural belief, which I find particularly appealing, is the Chinese affinity for luck. Whether it be tossing luck with chopsticks and cabbage, measuring a year in luck based on your particular Chinese Zodiac, or finding luck in the numbers, good and bad fortune are as much a part of the daily life of many Chinese people as eating, drinking, and breathing.

Despite my usual animosity toward numbers (words are, after all, my preferred medium of choice), I am actually quite intrigued by the idea of lucky numbers. In traditional Chinese culture, certain numbers are believed to be auspicious or inauspicious. Often the luck, or lack-there-of, of a number is determined by the Chinese word that the number name sounds similar to. The Chinese word for “eight” sounds similar to another Chinese word meaning “prosper”, “wealth”, or “fortune” thus “eight” is a lucky number.

Eight petals can be found on the Buddhist lotus flower. The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia have 88 floors. The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 p.m. local time. Even the Singapore Flyer boasts 28 capsules each with a maximum capacity of 28 persons. The figure “28” means “double prosperity” or “easy to prosper” and the Singapore Flyer’s website calls it the “largest Wheel of Fortune in its own rights.”
So being that the Flyer is said to encompass so much luck, not to mention it is one of the “Top 10 in Singapore”, I naturally visited the Flyer with both my family and Tim when they were here on their respective vacations.
In addition, being that the number eight is on my mind, not to mention I have not put up a blog entry in almost two months and a lot has happened between then and now, I have set a personal goal for myself. For the next EIGHT days I will write one blog entry a day, totaling, of course, EIGHT. Each of the EIGHT entries will include highlights and anecdotes about my family’s visit to Singapore and our trip to Cambodia or Tim’s trip which included vacations to both Thailand and Malaysia.

Also, being that I still have a job, a social life, and dance rehearsals, not to mention no one reading this probably has time to re-live the last seven weeks of my life with me play by play, I will keep these entries short, sweet, and, one can hope, entertaining.

So there you have it, eight days, eight entries, and we’ll be all caught up.

One down…seven to go.



No comments:

Post a Comment