Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Nicholas from Merrick, NY. Nicholas Wonders, “Why is seven considered a lucky number?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Nicholas!
Quick! Think of a number between one and 10. Now let's see if we can guess which number you thought of. Was it seven? We're willing to bet that many of you did indeed think of the number seven, and not just because of the topic of this Wonder of the Day.
Researchers have found that, when asked to think of a number between one and 10, a significant number of people will think of the number seven. Similar results occur when a large group of people are asked what their favorite number is. The number seven is usually the overwhelming favorite. Why is that?
In many cultures around the world, seven is considered a lucky number. This probably explains the affinity many people feel for the number seven. Some scientists and mathematicians also believe there are some interesting properties of the number itself that also make it alluring.
Whether the number seven is really lucky or not is a matter of opinion. Some people believe it is, but this belief may simply stem from the positive things often associated with the number. Like most beliefs associated with the concept of luck, superstition plays a large role in perpetuating the belief.
The number seven enjoys a long history of positive associations across many different cultures. In fact, if you start looking for reasons why seven is so popular throughout history across various cultures, you'll find that the number seems to appear everywhere.
There are seven days in a week. How many colors are there in a rainbow? Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet — that's right…seven!
There are seven continents and there were seven wonders of the ancient world. How many deadly sins are there? You guessed it: seven! Some researchers have found that human memory works best when remembering up to — but not more than — seven items.
There is also a powerful connection between the number seven and the religions of the world. Biblical scholars point out that the number seven is quite significant in the Bible. In the creation story, God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh day. Scholars have found that the number seven often represents perfection or completeness in the Bible.
In Judaism, there are seven heavens. The Koran, Islam's holy book, also speaks of seven heavens, and Muslims making the pilgrimage to Mecca walk around the Kaaba seven times. In Chinese culture, seven represents Yin and Yang combined with the Five Elements: water, fire, earth, wood, and metal. This combination represents the concept of harmony in Confucianism.
Mathematically, the number seven also has a couple of features that make it appealing to many people. First, it's an odd number. Even numbers can be easily divided by two, so odd numbers seem more unique to some people.
Seven is also a prime number, which means it can only be divided by itself and one. Since it's the largest prime number between one and 10, some people see it as more interesting for that reason.