When Days Are (Lucky) Numbered
While some people believe that numbers do not define one’s destiny, others’ lives revolve around them. Believers use techniques to, for example, determine the ideal date to plan an event, and dates with a repetition of numbers tend to have special meaning for some.
The Jakarta Globe talked to four people, including a Chinese feng shui practitioner, about today’s date, 11-11-11.
Although some people think dates with a repetition of numbers are special, Jakarta-based feng shui practitioner Ahmad Sobari said that was not always the case.
“Repetition of numbers does not define whether a date is good,” he said. “It takes calculations using ancient Chinese techniques to find out.”
However, he said because 11-11-11 fell on a Friday, it was particularly auspicious.
“Based on the calculation I did, the date is a very good time for anyone planning to start something new,” he said. “It is a good day for a wedding, starting a business, trading, meeting new people and many other things.”
The time of day is also an important consideration, with Ahmad adding that the best time to do these things is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Benedicta Silvi Megahastuti
Benedicta Silvi Megahastuti is tying the knot on 11-11-11, but said it had nothing to do with superstition.
“My fiance just suddenly had that idea on our engagement day last year,” the 24-year-old said. “His mother’s birthday is on November 11, and we officially started dating each other on May 11. He thought it would be nice to have another ‘historical’ 11 in our life.”
With that in mind, Silvi said they set the date of their wedding, even though it fell on a weekday. Wedding receptions in Indonesia are typically held on a Saturday or Sunday, when most people are off work.
“Although it may seem unusual to hold a wedding reception on a Friday, it is not because we think 11-11-11 is a special number,” she said. “Besides, we only invited close relatives, and most of my fiance’s friends are priests. Chances are they wouldn’t be able to make it to our wedding if we had it on Saturday or Sunday, when they have to give services at church.”
However, Silvi said many of their friends, especially Chinese-Indonesians, told her and her fiance that 11-11-11 was a lucky date according to Chinese tradition.
“The shapes of 11-11-11 are straight lines, just like the pouring rain. Chinese believe that rain brings prosperity and good luck,” she recounted one of her friends telling her.
Because neither Silvi nor her fiance are of Chinese descent, they previously had no idea that “numbers might bring good or bad luck,” she said.
“Let’s just say, it’s good if [prosperity and good luck] really happen,” she said. “We’re happy enough to get married on [my fiance’s] mother’s special day.”
Laura Said Firmansyah
Laura Said Firmansyah is counting down the days to the birth of her first child, who, according to her doctor, is due on Nov. 16.
“My husband and I are very excited and we have already chosen a name,” the 29-year-old said.
Although she was aware the baby could come at any time as the due date grew near, she hoped it would be on 11-11-11.
“It has nothing to do with feng shui or anything like that, given that my husband and I don’t have any knowledge about that. It is because we got married on 10-10-10, so we thought it would be beautiful if the baby is born on 11-11-11,” she said. “My husband thinks it’s going to be cool to have child No. 1 born on 11-11-11.
“But the most important thing is, of course, that the baby is born healthy.”
Despite her wishes for the baby to be born on that date, she said she would not have a Caesarean section procedure to make it happen.
“Some people do it just so the babies are born on the dates they want, but I won’t do that,” she said. “I insist on having a normal [vaginal] birth.”
Laura said she and her husband were not the only ones who are patiently waiting for the birth of a new family member.
“Our relatives have been betting on whether our baby will be born on 11-11-11,” she said with a laugh. “My mother even told me to talk to the baby to tell her to come out on that day.”
Laura said although everyone in their families seemed to be fascinated with special dates such as 11-11-11, she was pretty sure none of them could give a good reason for why it was auspicious other than its repetition of numbers.
“When we chose to get married on 10-10-10, it was solely because we thought it was unique and it fell on Sunday, when people would normally hold a reception,” she said. “We believe that any date is as good as any other.”
Despite the fact that some couples like the idea of tying the knot on a special date such as 11-11-11, Jakarta’s top event venues did not see any significant spike in bookings.
South Jakarta’s Balai Kartini will host only two weddings this evening, its marketing manager Rozalina “Inez” Rosman said.
“I think it is also because it falls on a Friday rather than the weekend,” she said. “But we are fully booked for a number of weddings, day and night, on November 20 because it is 20-11-2011 and it falls on Sunday.”
Despite Balai Kartini’s relatively open availability today, those hoping for matrimony on a particularly noteworthy date are advised to book well in advance.
“This is when you need to rent a huge space to accommodate everybody,” Rozalina said. “The problem is whether or not the venue is available for the date you want, because chances are other people are planning something on the same day. But if a special date [with a repetition of numbers] falls on a Saturday or Sunday, that is when you need to reserve quickly.”