Why Is 13 An Unlucky Number | 5 Reasons

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Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, many of us are superstitious. This condition manifests itself in many different ways. We avoid black cats and walking under ladders. We do not change our socks and helmets during the playoffs. We toss salt over our shoulders or count the cracks on the sidewalk so as not to break our mother’s back. Superstition often starts because it looks like we’re lucky or unlucky depending on whether we engage in certain behaviors or avoid them.

And the number 13 certainly still carries some superstitious weight.  Many people are especially careful on this day, while in other cultures the 13th can bring good luck.

Researchers estimate that at least 10 percent of the U.S. population has a fear of the number 13, and each year the even more specific fear of Friday the 13, results in financial losses in excess of $800 million annually, as people avoid marrying, traveling or even working.

So why is 13 considered an unlucky number? To address this, we will quickly go over its history, and then discuss 5 reasons why 13 is an unlucky number! 

The first record the number 13 being a superstition was in the late 17th century, and the first incarnation of unlucky 13 was ’13 at a table.’. This basically said that if you sit 13 people at a table, one will die within a year. And at the time, everyone knew, that the origin of the superstition had to do with the last supper, where the 13th to take their seat was either Judas or Jesus himself. And afterwards, Jesus was crucified. 

One of the biggest controversies surrounding the Last Supper is whether or not it was a Passover meal. John seems to suggest that the meal was eaten the day before Passover, which has led some scholars to date the Last Supper to the 13th of Nisan , while others say that the crucifixion itself was on the 13th of Nisan.

An argument can be made for either, but we can clearly see where the superstition of the number 13 originated from. 

And the superstition of 13 followed into our modern world. The missing-13th-floor phenomenon is all too common today. Architects and developers will more often than not still omit the 13th floor. This even includes architects who design mausoleums. At this point, 

it’s an established tradition and no one knows how many people are still following this superstition. Anecdotal evidence suggests that countless people wouldn’t rent or buy an apartment if it were on the 13th floor.

 The effect of that, though, is that it kind of exaggerates this sense of superstition for the general public.

5 Reasons:

1. BIBLICAL REFERENCES TO THE NUMBER 13 AREN’T ALL THAT POSITIVE.

According to historian Vincent Hopper, one of the people who really pushed 13 as being unlucky was 16th century numerologist Petrus Bungus. Among his reasons? Hopper says that Bungus “records that the Jews murmured 13 times against God in the exodus from Egypt, that the thirteenth psalm concerns wickedness and corruption, that the circumcision of Israel occurred in the thirteenth year.”

Additionally, The number 13 is symbolic of rebellion and lawlessness.  Thirteen represents all the governments created by men, and inspired by Satan, in outright rebellion against the Eternal.

And in Mark 7 Jesus mentions thirteen things that defile a person. They are adulteries, fornications, evil thoughts, murders, covetousness, thefts, wickedness, licentiousness, guile, blasphemy, foolishness, pride and an evil eye

2. THE MASS ARREST AND EXECUTION OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR BEGAN ON FRIDAY THE 13TH.

The Knights Templar, who were widely believed to be protecting the Holy Grail (the cup Jesus drank from at the Last Supper) as well as other holy objects, also acted as a bank of sorts to European kings. But after French King Philip IV lost a war with England and became heavily indebted to the Knights, he conspired with Pope Clement V to have all members of the Knights Templar arrested, charged with Satanism and other crimes, and massacred. The roundup of the Knights Templar began in earnest on Friday, October 13, 1307.

3. 13 LETTERS IN A NAME MEANS THE PERSON IS CURSED.

There’s an old superstition that says if you have 13 letters in your name, you’re bound to be cursed. Silly, yes, but slightly more convincing when you consider that a number of notorious murderers’ names (Charles Manson, Jack the Ripper, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, and Albert De Salvo) all contain 13 letters. And, in case you were wondering: Adolf Hitler’s baptismal name was Adolfus Hitler .

4. 12 IS A PERFECT NUMBER, SO 13 MUST BE UNLUCKY.

In some schools of numerology, the number 12 is considered to be the representation of perfection and completion. Since there are 12 months in a year, 2 sets of 12 hours in a day, and we even largely measure time in sets of 12 as well.  It stands to reason, then, that trying to improve upon perfection by adding a digit is a very bad idea indeed—your greed will be rewarded with bad luck.

5. SPORTS GREATS WITH JERSEY NUMBER 13 SOMETIMES COME UP SHORT.

Dan Marino is a constant fixture at or near the top of any “best quarterbacks to never win a Super Bowl” list. Perhaps his failure to grab the biggest prize in football comes down to his jersey number—13. And he’s not the only example: Basketball star Steve Nash was a two-time NBA MVP and is considered one of the all-time great point guards, but he and his #13 jersey never won a championship.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, we have an instance of when the misfortune of 13 actually turned into fortune and broke a completely unrelated curse… that is, the curse of Drake. 

The Drake curse is a sports curse attributed to rapper Drake. Endorsement from Drake, including wearing a team’s or player’s jersey, publicly declaring support for a team or attending a game has resulted in a loss or negative outcome for players and teams.

Many teams have been affected by the Drake curse, but one notorious team was the Toronto Raptors.  

However, as fate would have it, the Drake curse was broken on June 13, 2019, when the Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship.

As unlucky as the number 13 may seem, we always have one reason to love it, the bakers dozen!

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