Nine – long lasting

This is the tenth in a series of posts where I'm looking at how the Chinese view numbers, often from a superstitious basis.


The Chinese character for nine (Jiǔ) is shown on the right hand side of the main image above.

The number nine is also a lucky number. Once again, that comes from the fact that it's pronounced similarly to 久 (Jiǔ) which means "a long time". In some contexts, it can mean "long lasting" or even "everlasting". Because of the latter meaning, you'll often hear it used in weddings.

The number has older relevance to emperors, regarding the nine bestowments and later the nine-rank system for exams. Emperor's robes were often adorned with nine dragons. The forbidden city was said to have had 9,999 and a half rooms.

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