German Lucky Numbers Posted by Constanze on May 6, 2020 in Culture, Language
Guten Tag! Every culture has different ‘lucky numbers’, for different reasons. Today we’ll look at which numbers are considered lucky in Germany, and how this plays out in the German language.
In Germany, there are two main numbers that are considered lucky. These are the numbers 4 and 7. One might call these Glückszahlen. The singular term is die Glückszahl. Das Glück is luck, and die Zahl is number. An unlucky number, on the other hand, is called die Unglückszahl.
While 4 and 7 are fairly standard lucky numbers for the western world, it’s interesting to see how they show up in the German language, specifically. So here are a few facts about each!
The number 4 is considered lucky in Germany due to its associations with the Glücksklee – the four-leaf clover, which is a lucky charm (der Glücksbringer) in Germany because of how rare it is. Clover itself is called der Klee in German, but because it is a lucky charm it is often called der Glücksklee. German lucky charms have the word Glück – luck – added to the front of them. If you’d like to read more about that, click here!
Number 7 is also a lucky number in Germany. Another German Glücksbringer (lucky charm) is der Marienkäfer (ladybird), also called der Glückskäfer (‘lucky bug’). The Glückskäfer is often represented as having 7 black spots on its back. It is said to bring luck if a Glückskäfer lands on you.
In Germany they also say Wolke 7 (Cloud 7) instead of Cloud 9. The phrase ‘auf Wolke 7 schweben’ means ‘to float on cloud 7’, whereas in English we’d say someone was ‘floating on cloud 9’ (to indicate extreme happiness). It’s likely that Wolke 7 is a reference to the religious belief that there are 7 heavens, or seven levels of heaven. The term ‘seventh heaven’ is der siebter Himmel in German. At some point in English the term ‘on cloud 9’ became popular, but in German, Wolke 7 stuck.
What is your own Glückszahl? 🙂
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