Number Meanings | Lucky Bamboo Shop



Lucky Bamboo and Symbolic Chinese Number Meanings

The meanings behind the use of lucky bamboo and the number of stalks in an arrangement are based on the sound of that number being tied to the sound of a positive trait or life objective.  Even with the varied dialects the regional meanings remain similar in nature and taken together, enrich rather than contradict each other. Instead of one word, a number has several inflections from different dialects. The Chinese culture is spread over a large area where people are separated by physical barriers such as mountains and political allegiance which leads to regional dialects and different pronunciations.  Even with the variation of dialects the meanings have remained constant.  The significance behind the number meanings is thought to enhance the lives of both the  giver and the receiver of a lucky bamboo gift.  Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that ties the use of numbers into the balance of life.  Lucky bamboo is thought to be one of the better ways of bringing balance  or positive energy into the home.

Meanings of the number of stalks


One.   In Chinese culture the use of the number one ties to creation, the beginning or origin.  Lao Ti, well known in Chinese cultures as an ancient philosopher, tied the number one to "the Way gave birth to unity, unity gave birth to duality and duality gave birth to trinity and trinity gave birth to the myriad of creatures."   One is the simple pure form for a new beginning or a means of wishing someone good luck  particularly for a new undertaking. 

One Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


Two.    The word two carries with it the meaning for double or twined, strongly suggesting that good things come in pairs and is often used to imply double happiness.

Two Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


Three.    The sound of the word 'three' in Chinese is similar to birth or life and often associated with new things or new beginnings. The number three is often related to Heaven, Earth and Human Beings.  It is used to signify a group or several people as one would refer to "three heads being better than one."  The number three is a way to wish happiness or good luck over a group of people.  It is also used to wish someone success on their new adventure.  

Three Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


Four.       The pronunciation of the word 'four' in Chinese sounds very similar for the word for 'death' and is therefore generally avoided.  The use of four in the Chinese culture would be similar to the use of thirteen in the western culture.  However, four is also respected as the Primary Four Moral Criteria:  benevolence, righteousness, courtesy and wisdom. 

Four Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


Five.     The number five is widely associated with the five basic elements of water, fire, earth, wood and metal, representing a sense of peace when the basics of life are in balance.  The use of lucky bamboo arrangements are one of the higher sources for bringing this balance into the home as the lucky bamboo represents the wood, the water is present, the ceramic vase represents the earth and the metal ties used to secure the arrangement are in place for the metal. 


When two people clap hands or give a high five it is a way of saying "congratulations or to commemorate an accomplishment or achievement.  Five stalks are a way of providing congratulations along with bringing peace and balance into the environment.

 Five Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


 Six.      The word for six, pronounced "Liu", is pronounced similar to the same word for doing everything smoothly or in harmony.  In China the 66th birthday calls for a grand and elaborate celebration.  Giving six stalks of bamboo commemorates the giving of a blessing, calmness, peace and security in life.

 Six Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


Seven.     The number seven symbolizes kindness and beauty.  It is used in writings to reference ones wit and creativity.  Seven is an indication of holiness.  Its pronunciation is similar to that indicating togetherness.  The number seven is very lucky for relationships.  The use of the number seven adds to the odds for success.

 Seven Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


Eight.        In Chinese the word for eight, "Ba",  is similar in sound to the word "Fa" which is a reference to wealth or fortune.  Eight is a very popular number in the Chinese culture and is considered the highest form of good luck and prosperity. Chinese businesses like to incorporate eight into their telephone numbers, addresses and even business names.  In Canton the use of the number 88 relates to double joy.

 Eight Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


Nine.    The word for nine is pronounced "Jiu", being similar to the word meaning everlasting.  Nine hearts are given on Valentines day to symbolize everlasting love.  Chinese Emperors have used nine as a way to illustrate their great power, longevity and eternal reign.  In the Forbidden city in Beijing there are 9,999 rooms for this reason.  

         Nine Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements 


Ten or More   When a number has two or more digits, the traditional interpretation is a combination of the meanings of the digits. Ten has the meaning of fullness or completion is rather standard. Above ten the combination of the meanings becomes more complex and leans toward the purpose of the giver. For example the number twelve made up of a one and a two, becomes a combination of creation (one) and double or twined (two). Blessing for the birth of twins or a marriage are easy to imagine, but it may also be congratulation on the merging of two corporations.        

      Additional Chinese meanings behind the use of multiple numbers:

99        Double longevity                    289      makes it easy to find luck or fortune

518      Personal prosperity                 814      having wealth for an entire lifetime.

888      Three times wealthy               1314    living a full lifetime

Ten or More Stalk Lucky Bamboo Arrangements 


Lucky Bamboo Towers  -  Lucky Bamboo towers anchor Feng Shui, provide circles of strength and build towards strengthened accomplishments and relationships.

 Tower Shaped Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


Woven Lucky Bamboo Trellises -  The Trellis is made of woven lucky bamboo and used in Feng Shui to prevent bad energy flow.  A trellis is also symbolic of the ladder of achievement.

Trellis shaped Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


Braided Pillar Lucky Bamboo TreesLucky bamboo is often braided into unique sculptural arrangements.   Lucky bamboo trees come in pillar and pear shapes.  Double braided canes of lucky bamboo bring good news.  Double braided lucky bamboo canes bring new development in business and life.

 Braided Pillar Lucky Bamboo Arrangements


See Meanings of Tie Colors


Questions on the Care of Lucky Bamboo     

Suggestions regarding the care of lucky bamboo can be found in the  Care Instructions section.  The Questions and Answers section provides additional information.