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Why number 13 is so unlucky?

Why number 13 is so unlucky?

“Triskaidekaphobia”, also popular as fear of the number 13.

Many of the evident folklores have mentioned the number thirteen, infamous as a symbol of bad luck. From breaking a mirror to opening an umbrella indoors, the fear of number thirteen being related to mishappenings is in fact acknowledged by many people. 

As stupid as forwarding a chain letter gets, there’s a lot of superstition behind every fabricated belief. I believe superstitions are for the uneducated, a well-read man knows the origin and the reason behind the superstitions. It can pertain to cultural influences and differences varying from country to country. For instance, the number 13 is considered unlucky in many countries and is avoided anywhere possible, however in countries like France and Italy, it is considered as a lucky number and was used in numerical form as a good luck charm on postcards. 

There are many religious attributes to the significance of the number 13. 

In Islam, 13 signifies the 13th day of the month of Rajab (the Lunar calendar), which is the birth of Imam Ali. In Catholicism, The apparitions of the Virgin of Fatima in 1917 were claimed to occur on the 13th day of six consecutive months. In Sikhism, The Vaisakhi, which commemorates the creation of “Khalsa” or pure Sikh was celebrated on April 13 for many years. In Judaism, 13 signifies the age at which a boy matures and becomes a Bar Mitzvah, i.e., a full member of the Jewish faith. 

Coming to the bad luck part of the poor number, everyone is aware of the popular Mayan calendar, many believed the certainty of the apocalyptic phenomenon of 2012 as the calendar did not continue any further after 2012. The end of the Mayan calendar’s 13th Baktun was superstitiously feared as a harbinger of the apocalyptic 2012 phenomenon.

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. It occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday, which happens at least once every year but can occur up to three times in the same year.

 The Last Supper, At Jesus Christ’s Last Supper, there were thirteen people around the table, counting Christ and the twelve apostles. Some believe this is unlucky because one of those thirteen, Judas Iscariot, was the betrayer of Jesus Christ. From the 1890s, a number of English language sources relate the “unlucky” thirteen to an idea that at the Last Supper, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table.

Knights Templar, On Friday, 13 October 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of the Knights Templar, and most of the knights were tortured and killed.

Full Moons, A year with 13 full moons instead of 12 posed problems for the monks in charge of the calendars. “This was considered a very unfortunate circumstance, especially by the monks who had charge of the calendar of thirteen months for that year, and it upset the regular arrangement of church festivals. For this reason, thirteen came to be considered an unlucky number. However, a typical century has about 37 years that have 13 full moons, compared to 63 years with 12 full moons, and typically every third or fourth year has 13 full moons.

A Repressed Lunar Cult, in ancient cultures, the number 13 represented femininity, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). The theory is that, as the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar, the number thirteen became anathema.

Hammurabi’s Code, There is a myth that the earliest reference to thirteen being unlucky or evil is in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (circa 1780 BC), where the thirteenth law is said to be omitted. In fact, the original Code of Hammurabi has no numeration. The translation by L.W. King (1910), edited by Richard Hooker, omitted one article: If the seller has gone to (his) fate (I. e., have died), the purchaser shall recover damages in said case fivefold from the estate of the seller. 

All read and considered, 13 is just a number, and many people born on this day are doing pretty fine, living normal lives, there are a billion people with house numbers which include 13 in it. 

It also seems as if unexplained fears surrounding the number 13 are a primarily Western construct. But in much of East and Southeast Asia, where tetraphobia is the norm. 

Any belief in one country is not necessarily perceived as the same in the other. Superstitions still remain to exist in a definite part of the world, which honestly comes from the people of an era that existed thousands of years ago. Lack of knowledge and education made the people believe whatever, most of them which in fact can’t be scientifically proved but were still documented in the age-old manuscripts that people still continue to believe. 

Lucky or unlucky, it’s just a numerical figure that would do its job where necessary. 

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Anshul Pawar

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