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...or so we believe as The Telegraph Salt Lake steps into the teens. Here’s why the figure 13 is regarded as special around the world
Legend of 13
In Italy, 13 is considered lucky and the idiom “fare tredici” (to do a 13) is used to denote hitting the jackpot.
lColgate University in New York considers 13 its lucky charm. Thirteen men had founded the institute in 1819 with 13 dollars, 13 prayers and 13 articles. It’s address is 13 Oak Drive, it has an acappella band called Colgate 13 and every Friday the 13th is celebrated as Colgate Day.
Pranab Mukherjee- served as the 13th president of India. He was in office from 2012 to 2017.
The French monarch Louis XIII reigned from 1610 to 1643. He founded Musketeers of the Guard, a royal guards company, on whom author Alexandre Dumas wrote the 1844 novel The Three Musketeers. The king featured in the novel too.
In Judaism, 13 is the age at which a boy comes of age or becomes a Bar Mitzvah. For girls, the age is 13 or 12. After this ceremony, boys and girls are considered responsible for their own actions instead of their parents.
Section 13 of The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 deals with divorce. The section explains in detail the acceptable grounds for divorce.
Language and culture
A baker’s dozen is 13 instead of the standard 12. In ancient times in Britain, bakers would be fined heavily if a dozen units of products they sold failed to weigh a certain weight. To avoid risk, bakers would add an extra unit making it 13 items even when asked for a dozen.
The Bengali idiom baro maashey tero parbon (13 festivals in 12 months) indicates the numerous festivities in the culture.
Tero Parbon was a 1987 Bengali TV serial aired on Doordarshan Bangla. Directed by Jochhon Dastidar, the show introduced actor Sabyasachi Chakrabarty (in picture) to the audience and his character, Gora, became a household name.
Ocean’s Thirteen is the final film in the Ocean’s trilogy. Released in 2007, the heist film starred the likes of George Clooney and Brad Bitt, and made over $300 million.
Friday the 13th is an American brand of horror films, TV shows, books etc that play on the fear of the day. It began with a movie by the name in 1980 and the films alone have earned more than $400 million worldwide.
XIII: The Conspiracy is a 2008 film starring Val Kilmer about a man suffering from amnesia trying to unravel his past. The plot is based on a graphic novel XIII, that was also made into a first-person shooter video game in 2003.
Some footballers have tasted success wearing the number 13 jersey. In 1954 and 1974, West Germany won the Fifa World Cup with stars Max Morlock and Gerd Muller respectively wearing number 13 jerseys. In the 1990s and 2000s, Michael Ballack, one of Germany’s top goal scorers, wore 13 for most of his career.
In 1966, Portugal reached the World Cup finals propelled by Eusebio, their striker who wore 13. He won the Golden Boot. Brazilian footballer Rafinha (Marcio de Souza) plays for Bayern Munich wearing 13.
Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13, that has spread across many world cultures today. The superstition perhaps originates from the Last Supper, where Judas, who betrayed Jesus Christ, was said to have been the 13th disciple to sit on table.
Paraskevidekatriaphobia- is the fear of Friday the 13th, which is considered by believers to be doubly dangerous. Every year is bound to have at least one Friday the 13th. Studies show that about 20 million Americans are frightened about this day, making Friday the 13th the most feared day and date in history. People avoid doing business, taking flights on this day and the world loses millions of dollars as a result.
A study in the UK showed that more accidents actually take place on Friday the 13th as drivers get nervous. In Finland, Friday the 13th (on whichever month it falls) has been declared National Accident Day and they promote road safety that day.
Otis Elevator Company in 2002 revealed that about 85 per cent of the buildings installed with their lifts did not have a “13th floor”. Some of the tallest buildings in the world — the Empire State Buildings in New York and Sears Tower in Chicago don’t either.
Restaurants in Paris have provision for tables with 13 guests to hire a professional 14th guest.
Perhaps the most famous case of this fear was Apollo 13, a NASA manned moon mission that had taken off at 13:13 hours (North American Central Time Zone) on April 11, 1970 (4+1+1+7+0=13). The shuttle suffered an oxygen tank explosion in space on April 13, the mission had to be aborted and after overcoming great challenges, returned to earth on April 17, without casualties. The incident spawned a Hollywood film staring Tom Hanks in 1995.
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Famous people with triskaidekaphobia
Stephen King- The American author of horror books is himself said to be scared of the number 13. While writing, he never stops on page 13 or a multiple of it. When reading, he never stops on page 13 or on any number that adds up to 13 either.
Arnold Schoenberg- The Austrian-American music composer feared he would die when aged a number that was a multiple of 13. When he turned 76 he realised 7+6 was 13 too and was doubly scared on July 13, 1951, a Friday, when was 76. He had stayed in bed the entire day, anxious and depressed and died of a heart attack, about 15 minutes before the day ended.
Mark Twain- the author is said to have famously declined to be the 13th guest at a table, claiming later, “They only had food for 12”.