Triskaidekaphobia (from Greek tris meaning “3,” kai meaning “and,” and deka meaning “10”) is fear of the number 13; it is a superstition and related to a specific fear of Friday the 13th, called paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.
There is a common myth that the earliest reference to thirteen being unlucky or evil is from the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (circa 1780 BCE), where the thirteenth law is 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 have gone to (his) fate (i. e., have died), the purchaser shall recover damages in said case fivefold from the estate of the seller.
Other translations of the Code of Hammurabi, for example the translation by Robert Francis Harper, include the 13th article.
Some Christian traditions have it that at the Last Supper, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table.However, the number 13 is not uniformly bad in the Judeo-Christian tradition. For example, the 13 attributes of God (also called the thirteen attributes of mercy) are enumerated in the Torah (Exodus 34:6–7). Some modern Christian churches also use 13 attributes of God in sermons.
Triskaidekaphobia may have also affected the Vikings—it is believed that Loki in the Norse pantheon was the 13th god.More specifically, Loki was believed to have engineered the murder of Balder, and was the 13th guest to arrive at the funeral. This is perhaps related to the superstition that if thirteen people gather, one of them will die in the following year. Another Norse tradition involves the myth of Norna-Gest: when the uninvited norns showed up at his birthday celebration—thus increasing the number of guests from ten to thirteen—the norns cursed the infant by magically binding his lifespan to that of a mystic candle they presented to him.
Ancient Persians believed the twelve constellations in the Zodiac controlled the months of the year, and each ruled the earth for a thousand years at the end of which the sky and earth collapsed in chaos. Therefore, the thirteenth is identified with chaos and the reason Persians leave their houses to avoid bad luck on the thirteenth day of the Persian Calendar, a tradition called Sizdah Bedar.
In 1881, an influential group of New Yorkers led by U.S. Civil War veteran Captain William Fowler came together to put an end to this and other superstitions.
They formed a dinner cabaret club, which they called the Thirteen Club. At the first meeting, on Friday 13 January 1881 at 8:13 p.m., 13 people sat down to dine in room 13 of the venue. The guests walked under a ladder to enter the room and were seated among piles of spilled salt. All of the guests survived. Thirteen Clubs sprang up all over North America for the next 40 years. Their activities were regularly reported in leading newspapers, and their numbers included five future U.S. presidents, from Chester A. Arthur to Theodore Roosevelt. Thirteen Clubs had various imitators, but they all gradually faded from interest as people became less superstitious.
On Friday 13 October 1307, the Knights Templar were ordered to be arrested by Philip IV of France. The theory has been suggested, in the book Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry by John J. Robinson, that the Templars went underground among masons in England and later developed into Freemasons. Because most of the founding fathers of the United States of America were Freemasons, it is possible the memory of the terror of that day is preserved in the Friday the 13th.
– Tetraphobia, fear of the number 4 – (phonetically similar to “death”) in Korea, China and Japan, as well as in many other East-Asian and some Southeast-Asian countries, it is not uncommon for buildings (including offices, apartments, hotels) to lack floors with the number 4, and Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia’s 1xxx-9xxx series of mobile phones does not include any model numbers beginning with a 4. In China, this is because the pronunciation of the word for “four” (四, sì) can sound similar to that of the word for “death” (死, shi).
– 17 is an unlucky number in Italy, because in Roman digits 17 is written XVII, that could be rearranged to “VIXI”, which in Latin means “I have lived” but can be a euphemism for “I am dead.” Cesana Pariol, the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton track used for the 2006 Winter Olympics, had turn 17 originally named “Senza Nome” (“without name” in (Italian)), but the turn was renamed in 2007 in honor of luger Paul Hildgartner.
– Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th, which is considered to be a day of bad luck in a number of western cultures. In Romania, Greece and some areas of Spain and Latin America, Tuesday the 13th (called “martes trece”) is considered unlucky.
All or part of the article above was taken from the Wikipedia article Triskaidekaphobia, licensed under CC-BY-SA.