Chinese say 8-8-88 luckiest day of the century


HONG KONG -- It's a great day for marriages, grand openings, public festivals and just general good fortune. It's August 8, 1988, and most Chinese consider it the luckiest day of the century.

The source of this good fortune is the number eight, pronounced 'baat' in Cantonese and other Southern Chinese dialects. 'Baat' rhymes with 'faat,' which translates as 'good fortune' or 'prosperity.'


For the Chinese, who base much of their active superstition on rhyming words, the eighth day of the eighth month in 1988 is about as lucky as one can ever get.

Local fortune tellers claim babies born today will be smarter than those born yesterday or tomorrow and will become richer to boot.

Hospital officials say many expecting mothers have asked to go into induced labor today. Other mothers who have been told they may need to give birth by Caesarian section have requested the operation be performed immediately.

A spokesman for the government medical department said arranging a birth for a specific day was not a policy Hong Kong hospitals would follow.

All over Hong Kong people and corporations celebrated today hoping good fortune will befall them.


The new Bank of China 'topped out' its 70th floor -- making it the tallest building in the territory. Officials of the communist Chinese-run bank denied they ever hoped to open for business today, but acknowledged privately 'it would have been nice.'

Today's luck was not confined to humans and extended even to dogs. The government began a four-week drive to inoculate local fishermen's dogs against rabies.

A spokesman for the Agriculture and Fisheries Department said the date for the beginning of the drive was just a 'coincidence.'

Hong Kong's 7-Eleven convenience store chain was running a contest to pick 88 customers from 88 of its 223 stores in the colony for gift coupons of 888 Hong Kong dollars ($113) and 80 prizes of 88 Hong Kong dollars ($11) between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Though Norman Cheng, manager of one 7-Eleven store, claims not to believe in the luck of the eights, he did purchase a ticket for a special 8-8-88 lottery draw.

Lottery officials have added 3,888,888 Hong Kong dollars ($498,575) to the jackpot of the local lottery.

The jackpot size is determined by the number of tickets purchased.

Lottery officials say they have no estimate for the number of tickets that will be bought today, but the jackpot is certain to exceed the average of 13 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.6 million).


Many Hong Kong couples are celebrating the lucky day by getting married. Officials at the marriage registry said 278 couples picked today to tie the knot, an unheard of number outside a weekend.

Yet the registry said today's line at the altar is nothing compared to what they expect on Oct. 8.

The combination of the eighth day and the 10th month make it an ideal day for romance, according to Chinese superstition.

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