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Why 13 is Unlucky: The History and Statistics of Number 13

The Legends and Luck Behind 13 Digits

Millions of dollars are lost on every Friday the 13 th because people will not do business that day, will not fly or travel, will not go out to dinner, and some will not go to work. Some people have anxiety attacks, others just stay home under the covers. Hotels do not have a 13 th floor, but have 12A instead. Some people will not accept a number 13 in a queue, or allow it on their kid's sports jersey. So what's the fuss about the number 13, is it really unlucky, and where did it start?


History of Unlucky 13
There are many legends as to why 13 became our unlucky number. The most common story is of a famous dinner held in Valhalla, the Norse Heaven, where 12 guests were invited. Loki was angry at not being invited, so he crashed the party - the 13 th guest. After dinner, he killed the other 12 party guests. Another version says that he only killed Balder, the god of joy, and then the Earth fell into darkness. Either way, it made 13 unlucky. After that, no one would ever invite 13 guests to dinner. Eventually, the number itself became unlucky for all its uses.


Some people say it's because there are 13 full moons in a year. Others just don't like it because it throws an even dozen off balance. A few have said it was the thirteenth apostle who betrayed Jesus. However, most of the superstition lies in odd myths and fairy tales, such as the 13 th victim of Vlad the Impaler who became the first vampire to cross to the West. The Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1686 BC) skips the number 13. This shows that the superstition pre-dates the Christian era.


Is 13 really an unlucky number?
Statistics would dispute any bad luck connected to 13. No planes have ever crashed on Friday the 13, no earthquakes, and no wars were started on the 13 th day of any month. Someone wins the lottery every month on the 13th, and even on Friday the 13 th . Few if any mishaps have occurred on any 13 th floor of any building. It's just superstition to avoid it.


Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. It's estimated over 1 million people have this fear to an extent that requires therapy.


According to CNN, Brussels Airlines had to change its logo after customers complained about the "B" logo, which was formed by 13 dots.


The Chinese consider it a lucky number. So it's just in the West that we avoid these dreaded digits. For me, I loved the "Friday the 13th" movies, and some of my best days have fallen on number thirteen. However, I won't walk under a ladder. I'm not crazy, after all.

See Also: The Top Songs for Friday the 13th  

Happy a good lucky day. No black cats or ladders were harmed here.

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