“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
They’ve been ‘beautiful’, they’ve been ‘big’ and they’ve been ‘unusual’. Today we have the number seven, another of what are known as ‘significant’ numbers, so-called because of their use and the beliefs surrounding them.
The number seven is the most mystical of all numbers. It is considered by a great many people to be ‘lucky’.
It is a number that is mentioned many times in the Bible where it indicates perfection and has its roots in ancient Jewish history.
In the Old Testament for example,
- The Creation established the pattern of a seven day week.
- The seventh day was a day of rest.
- Land was to lie fallow every seventh year to allow it to recover its nutrients.
- Noah led the clean animals into the ark in sets of seven pairs for each species.
- Solomon took seven years to build the temple in Jerusalem.
- The Torah mentions that the Sabbatical, or holy year, occurred every seven years.
- The Israelites were told to march around the walls of Jericho seven times, and their enemies would be defeated.
- The symbolic Jewish candlestick has seven branches.
This view of the number seven continued in the New Testament.
- A disciple asked Jesus, “How many times should we forgive our brethren?” Jesus replied, “70 times 7”.
- Revelations 1:16 states, “He had in his right hand seven stars.”
- Also in Revelations, the number of seals is seven.
And beyond the Bible, we find the number seven in other religions and societies.
- The ancient Greeks considered the number seven to be lucky. They believed it to be the perfect number.
- In ancient Egypt there were seven paths to heaven.
- In ancient Babylon there were seven branches on their tree of life.
- The Arabs carried on this belief and built seven holy temples.
- The Goths made sure they worshiped the seven deities.
- The Japanese also had seven gods. (In 1995, to celebrate the Japanese Emperor’s seven year reign 17 runners ran 7,777 meters round the imperial palace at 7 minutes past seven on the 7th day of the 7th month.)
- The Chinese saw seven as the number governing female life.
- Even the Scottish Masons made sure the number seven had relevance in their rites, and their aprons were made with seven tassels on them.
In the US too there are examples of the occurrence of the number seven.
- The Founding Fathers declared independence from Britain during the seventh month.
- There are seven articles to the US constitution.
- And the city of Washington D.C. was built on the 77th longitude.
The number still occurs because of it being thought lucky such as the drink 7-Up and the Boeing airplanes which are always 7?7.
Then there are the Seven Wonders of the world.
The original seven wonders were:
- Great Pyramid of Giza
- Hanging Gardens of Babylon
- Statue of Zeus at Olympia
- Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
- Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
- Colossus of Rhodes
- Lighthouse of Alexandria
(The earliest lists had the Ishtar Gate as the seventh wonder of the world instead of the Lighthouse of Alexandria.)
In 2001 an initiative was started by the Swiss corporation New7Wonders Foundation to choose the New7Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments.
Twenty-one finalists were announced January 1, 2006. Egyptians were not happy that the only surviving original wonder, the Great Pyramid of Giza, would have to compete with the likes of the Statue of Liberty, the Sydney Opera House, and other landmarks, calling the project absurd. In response, Giza was named an honorary Candidate.
The results, announced on July 7, 2007, in Lisbon, Portugal, were:
- Great Wall of China
- Petra (Jordan)
- Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)
- Machu Picchu (Peru)
- Chichen Itza (Mexico)
- Colosseum (Italy)
- Taj Mahal (India)
There have also been several atempts to compile a list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The main candidates include:
- Grand Canyon
- Great Barrier Reef
- Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
- Mount Everest
- Parícutin volcano
- Victoria Falls
And, of course, in the field of entertainment the number seven has featured in several memorable movies, examples of which include:
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
- The Magnificent Seven
- The Seven Samurai
- The Seventh Seal
- Seven Pounds