No one can say for sure when the unpleasant superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th first began to circulate. But while the number 12 has traditionally been connected with completion — 12 months of the year, 12 days of Christmas, 12 zodiac signs — the number 13, especially, has long been associated with ill luck.
History.com claims that a crucial legislation was left out of the ancient Code of Hammurabi, one of the first and most comprehensive written legal laws. Superstitious people often cite this as evidence of the number’s bad vibes, even though it was probably just a clerical error.
Western scholars attribute the superstitious dread of the number 13 to the Bible. The Last Supper included Jesus and his 12 apostles, one of whom, Judas, would later betray him. The following day, on Good Friday, Jesus was crucified.
As the site explains, a Christian superstition arose from the seating arrangement at the Last Supper, which held that there should never be more than 12 people seated at a table. According to History.com, Christianity may be another source of the bad connotation of the day Friday.
A Friday was chosen for the crucifixion of Jesus. According to the website, some people think Friday was the day Eve fed Adam from the Tree of Knowledge and the day Cain slaughtered his brother Abel.
The Thirteen Club
According to the History Channel, in the late 19th century, a New Yorker named Captain William Fowler founded an elite club called the Thirteen Club in an effort to dispel the superstition associated with the number 13.
On April 13, 1883, he had a dinner for his friends and family in the room number 13 of the Knickerbocker Cottage, which he eventually sold. History.com claims that several former U.S. presidents, including Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt, were all members.
Fear of the Number 13
Triskaidekaphobia, which is the irrational fear of the number 13, affects a large percentage of the general population. Many aeroplanes (including those operated by Air France) and office buildings (particularly in the United States) don’t have a thirteenth row or floor.
It’s a business decision, say the experts, because people wouldn’t pay for a product they believed was cursed.
Significance of the Number 13 Around The World
The number 13 is simply another one among many in Asia. According to National Geographic, “the Chinese term for death is pronounced similarly to the Chinese word for four, making the number four particularly frightening in China.” Tetraphobia is the formal term for this condition.
In both China and Japan, the number 8 is considered highly auspicious since it can be easily pronounced as either “prosperity” or “wealth.” Many people believe that Tuesday the 13th is a cursed day in Greece, Mexico, and Spain.