"The Curse of 39" Not what you might think!

You might be thinking this blog today will be about ageing. We've all heard that stale cliche, "You're 39 for the third time!" Someone so afraid of ageing.  Forty being a milestone no one wants to pass. The sleepless nights. 

You might not want to say you're 39 again.

It has to do with Tetraphobia avoiding the number 4.  Like the superstitious unlucky number 13, or the lucky number 7.

The number 4 is on the same level as 13, especially common in East and Southeast Asian countries.  When pronounced in Chinese it sounds quite similar to the word for death, similarly, in the other languages of that area. Actually it's not the only number it's any number with 4 in it, such as fourteen or 24, or 42. These numbers are supposed to be avoided when someone was sick and during festive seasons. In some buildings in these countries floor numbers are often avoided and skipped.

Two buildings in Hong Kong, Vision City and The Arch skipped all the floors from 40 - 49 including all the other floors with 4 in it. Whole building blocks are omitted or a number is replaced with other numbers like 3A or 13A etc. 

Here in Canada, SaskTel requested that their new area code be 639 instead of 474 to avoid the negativity towards Asian Cultures. It passed and 639 became the area code.

But no, The Curse of 39 is something different. The Curse originated in Afghanistan and is a badge of shame, linked with prostitution. The theory of why the number became undesirable was because of its association with a pimp who was living in Herat. His nickname was "39" after his license plates on his expensive luxury car and his penthouse apartment number.

The number translated means morda-gow, which means dead cow, now a slang term for a pimp. Buildings and vehicles with these numbers are deemed unsellable in Kabul, where Afghanistan is a largely illiterate country. People are prisoners to rumours and superstitions that are quickly spread. Drivers of such cars have reported violence against them. Cellphone numbers with 39 in them constantly receive calls from johns wanting sex.

Strange because in 57 Suras or chapters from the Quran the number 39 is mentioned.

People that turn 39 in Afganistan refer themselves as "one less than 40" or "one year to 40"

Just another way of saying you're 39. No one really gets fooled.

Dog Brindle

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