From Global Social Customs and Business Etiquette
Monday, August 3, 2009
"In many cultures, bad luck and even death are associated with certain numbers. People of the United States, for example, think that 13 is an unlucky number. Most U.S. American hotels do not have a thirteenth floor, and even a hotel number ending in 13 may be refused. Friday the thirteenth is perceived as an unlucky day. Many U.S. persons will not schedule important events such as weddings or major surgery on this day. The Chinese, who also believe that good or bad luck is associated with certain numbers, feel that four is the most negative number because it sounds like their word for death. Hotels in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan often have no fourth floor, and some Asian airports have no Gate 4. Conversely, some numbers have positive meanings in China. For example, the number six represents happiness and nine represents long life. The number of people in a photograph also has significance. Many Chinese believe that having an uneven number of people in a photograph will bring bad luck and that having three people in a photograph will result in dire consequences—the middle person will die (Dresser, 1996).Those who take pictures as mementos for their Chinese business friends should keep this in mind."