Why you’re about to get super into numerology

If you take a walk through your local Chinatown during a certain time of year, everything probably looks extra gilded in red and gold. The Lunar New Year, which falls between late January and mid February, is celebrated differently around the world, but within Chinese culture, part of the festivities includes putting up paper decorations on your door and around your home. Many popular designs include the character, 囍. It’s meaningless on its own, but composed of the repeated character 喜 (xĭ in Mandarin; héi in Cantonese) — literally, “double happiness.” The contours of its figure are reminiscent of 88, a number that’s haunted me throughout my life. Reverence of “88” points directly back to one system of numerology, the overarching practice of according meaning and significance through the interpretation and manipulation of numbers.

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