It’s not secret that odd numbers tend to confuse people when doing basic or even advanced math. People tend to see these odd numbers as being, well…. “odd”. People tend to perceive these numbers as being weird or different, when in all actuality, they are as normal as even numbers.

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What’s So Odd About Odd Numbers?

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There is an irrational fear, a stigma surrounding the idea of odd numbers. The average human brain is used to seeing objects in series of twos or at least even numbers. For example: socks, eyes, hands, feet, and romantic couples all come in series of two’s typically. When an additional object is thrown into the mix, a person may not be able to count the objects in the series as well.

The idea of a number being “odd” is nothing more than a mental game. There are negative stigmas to things a person may come across in life that are different when different shouldn’t be seen as bad. Often times, different can be a good thing. During childhood, Japanese children of the ages 1,3,5, and 7 go to shrines to celebrate their growth.

Festivals and celebrations in the country are held on odd days during odd numbered months. For example: On September 9th, the Chrysanthemum Festival is held. During this festival people all over the country of Japan celebrate the significance of the number nine. For this reason, the festival is held on the ninth day of the ninth month.

Haiku poetry, a form of poetry formed in Japan, follows the composition of a three lines with the first being five syllables, the second having seven syllables, and the third having five syllables again. The repetition of the odd numbers of syllables reinforces the significance of odd numbers and the values they hold to Japanese people during everyday life.

In Japan, the number two holds the context of “to divide or separate”. Separation can easily be seen as a bad thing. Most people in life have no interest in separating from something that would ordinarily make them happy. With odd numbers bringing good luck for the Japanese, they have no wish to separate from these notions any time soon. The number four means “death” to the Japanese. Six translates to “good for nothing”. With these translations it is easy to see why the Japanese have a fear of odd numbers. Death is a frightening concept. Most people on Earth always want more time and never feel like they did enough, which is an easy emotional response to have. Human life occurs in the blink of an eye on the spectral plane of existence and overtime all can be forgotten. The Japanese have a healthy fear of death, although death’s ties to even numbers has not been resolved as of yet. The Japanese also wish to accomplish something in life, as do most people on Earth. If a person is told to be a “good for nothing” they may feel as though they are a waste of life, and no one wants that feeling.

In the western world, cultures generally prefer even numbers, but Japan has an overwhelming preference towards odd numbers. The rules of mathematics clearly are in place to remove the odd stigma from odd numbers. Education is the key to removing that stigma.