發 – Fa1 – Give Out
發 has other meanings too.
發財 – Fa1 Cai2 – Give Out Wealth — Become Rich.
On New Year, right after saying 新年快樂, you might say 恭喜發財 – Gong1 Xi3 Fa1 Cai2 which literally means “Congratulations on becoming rich!” but really I think is just a general good wish of prosperity.
Because 八 – Ba1 – Eight sounds like 發, it is considered a lucky number. Many Chinese people try to work this number in wherever they can. For instance, if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll see 8 appear frequently in the phone numbers of Chinese restaurants. This is no accident!
For 8-luckiness-extremists, there’s this: Real US dollar bills, with serial numbers that begin with 8888, for $5.95 each. (moneyfactory.com is an official US government site. it used to be at www.bep.treas.gov.) And they sell very well! One guy bought 44,000 of them. Which means he paid $261,800 for $44,000, plus luck.
It’s somewhat strange that he bought 44,000 since 4 is the most UNLUCKY number. 四 – Si4 – Four sounds like 死 – Si3 – Die. This number is so dangerous that many hospitals in Chinese speaking countries don’t have fourth floors.
Amazingly, incredibly, the power of this superstition is so great that Chinese and Japanese (who also find 4 unlucky, for the same reason) heart patients were found more likely to die on the 4th of the month than any other day.