Hello there, this is Wendy from Shantou, Guangdong Province. Today my question is about superstition based on numbers. It seems that certain numbers are far more (than) counting tools, but also bearing mystical power. Like the number four in China. Many people avoid using this number as it sounds like death in Chinese. So it is widely considered as an inauspicious number. I wonder whether English people also have number superstition, and what numbers are regarded as lucky or unlucky in Britain and why. Thank you.

Wendy, Shantou

As our listener Wendy points out, some numbers are more than just counting tools.

Some are lucky or unlucky, or to use the words she says: auspicious and inauspicious.

In the programme Finn and Jean start by talking about the number 13, which is famously unlucky in Britain and the Western world.

But they soon agree that there are more superstitions about numbers in Chinese than English.

So this week Finn asks a question about Chinese culture:


Finn, London

The number 13

Why are some numbers lucky or unlucky?