Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tetraphobia

In a lot of the hotels that we have stayed at here in China, there is often no 4th floor. At first I just assumed there was something special (or dodgy) that we weren't allowed to know about on the 4th level and the elevator just skipped it. It is only recently that I found out the real reason.

It turns out that tetraphobia (or the fear of the number 4) is an east Aisan superstition. The word for 'four' in Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Korean and sino-Japanese is similar or identical to the word for 'death'. Consequently, they avoid use of numbers with 4 in it, including building levels and especially on festive holidays.

Some hotels even go as far as removing rooms 14 &24 because '14' sounds like 'die for sure' and '24' sounds like 'easy to die'. Restaurants may even remove any table numbers with a 4 in it.

Thinking back on it, I'm pretty sure that I have stayed on the 'death floor' at some stage during the year.

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