It soon will be time for the silly and the serious to celebrate 7

Saturday is the big day for gamblers, and for tying the knot.



YOUNGSTOWN — The number seven. Where would we be without it?

Without seven, six and eight would be stuck next to each other.

We couldn’t have seven seas, seven deadly sins, seven wonders of the world, seven brides for seven brothers, seven days of the week, seventh heaven or seven dwarves.

Seven is an important number in religion. God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. Noah had seven days to gather the animals. Seven priests with seven trumpets were to encompass the walls of Jericho for seven days, and on the seventh day, the city fell into the hands of Israel.

Muslims turn around the Ka’bah seven times, throw seven stones on Satan in Pilgrimage, and prostrate on seven bones.

This year however, seven is going to get even more play than usual.

Last year was the year of the sinister 6/6/06 (666 is referred to as the Number of the Beast in the Book of the Revelation). Next year will be the year of the Crazy 8/8/08s.

Worth the gamble?

This year, we’re gambling on lucky seven.

Saturday’s date, 7/7/07, is significant for many gamblers, because for them, seven is the ticket.

Why? Maybe it grew to be thought of as lucky because of all those religious references.

Attachment to numbers, said Dr. Nate Ritchey, chairman of the math department at Youngstown State University, seems to be ingrained in human behavior.

His favorite number? 13.

Why? “I don’t know. I was born on the 13th.”

“We have this infatuation with some numbers,” he said. “Living until 100 is significant — a major milestone. We gain meaning from that. But 99 is a cool number, too.”

Nonetheless, this is the weekend when six and eight, perfectly legitimate numbers, will be just a little too little and just a little too much. Lottery retailers are already seeing increases in ticket sales for pick 3 and pick 4 games, though there are caps on the amount of tickets the lotteries will make available in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Better hurry if you want in.

Debbie Coffin, owner of Lucky Lotto at 533 Boardman-Canfield Road, predicts those games will be shut off by Saturday.

People already were starting to buy their tickets, and business was brisk, she said Tuesday morning.

In Pennsylvania, where a raffle is also boosting sales, tickets were also starting to move.

“A lot of people do like the number seven,” said Helen Pazio, owner of A&Z Daily News in Hermitage.

Pennsylvania’s Millionaire Raffle, explained Lottery executive director Ed Trees, offers a 1-in-125,000 chance of winning $1 million — the best odds ever offered by the Lottery. Tickets are $20. There are 625,000 tickets available.

The drawing will offer five top prizes of $1 million, five $100,000 prizes, 200 prizes of $1,000 and 7,567 $100 prizes. The winning tickets will be selected at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday also will be a significant day for weddings, with many couples choosing the date for good luck. In astrology, the seventh zodiac sign is Libra, which rules marriage and relationships.

Let’s just hope these couples don’t get blindsided on the path of marital bliss, though, by the seven-year itch.

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