Travel features

Do you have a number that you don’t ever bet on because you think it’s unlucky? Or do you refuse to walk across three drains in a row? Well, numbers and colours around the world can have different significances, making them potentially lucky or unlucky.

Ladbrokes has looked into the connotations associated with various numbers in different cultures, so you can be well prepared for an upcoming game of roulette. Here we share a few of our favourites…

One for Sorrow

Seeing a solitary magpie is bad luck in the UK. The popular rhyme says ‘one for sorrow’ and it’s something that sticks with you. The oldest known version of the song dates back to the late 18th century, where the number one wasn’t the only bad omen around – four used to be ‘for death’.

Superstitions From Around the World

Four for Death

Interestingly, tetraphobia – fear of the number four – is big in Japan, as well as other East Asian countries. It’s because the word for the number is the same as the word for ‘death’. Some Japanese buildings don’t have a fourth floor because of this, and Alfa Romeo changed the name for a new model 144 car in the early 2000s in Singapore because people were too afraid to buy it.

Seven for Bad Luck

The number seven is often brought up as being either extremely unlucky, magical or people’s favourite number. It has so many connotations. The most common is perhaps the seven years of bad luck you receive if you break a mirror. When mirrors were invented, it was thought that your reflection was a part of your soul. The seven years part stemmed from Ancient Rome, where it was thought that each person’s body undergoes a physical regeneration every seven years.

Twenty-five for Fortune

Love Christmas? You’re probably a big fan of the number 25 already. But to reassure you further, it’s believed in Ireland that a child born on Christmas Day will be blessed with good fortune.

Twenty-nine for a Proposal

In Finland, it’s considered lucky for a woman to propose to her other half on 29th February. And if she’s refused? Well, the partner must pay her a fine – or, at least, enough fabric to make a skirt. This superstition is still upheld today and has even trickled into other countries, such as Ireland.

It doesn’t stop there. In China, two is considered lucky because good things come in pairs. And the dreaded number 13 is actually a good omen in Italy. But every culture is different, resulting in various superstitions that are passed down for generations.