Belief And Knowledge The 13 Research Paper


The Aztecs believed 13 to be a sacred number. The Aztec week was thirteen days long and the number was respected as a measure of time and completion (Number 13, 2010). The Aztec calendar year was 260 days long, which was calculated as 20, thirteen day periods, called Trecenas. The goddess Tlazolteotl was the ruler of the 13th Trecena, who was the goddess of sin and could forgive sins (Number 13, 2010). In Hinduism, the thirteenth night of the waning moon in the month of Maagha is sacred to Shiva, and notes a cause for celebration of creation and preservation (Number 13, 2010). For those reading tarot cards, the tarot 13 is the card of death. In Scandinavia, the day of the Saint Lucia celebration is December 13th (Number 13, 2010). Regarding United States currency, the number 13 is seemingly glorified. On the one dollar bill, there are 13 leaves on the olive branch, 13 fruits, 13 arrows, 13 stars above the eagle, 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 feathers on each of the eagle's wings, and there are 13 letters in "E pluribus unum" (Number 13, 2010). The origins of the number 13 superstition appear to expand millennia. However, the prevalence of the superstition and its overall awareness in Western cultures seems to be as recent as the 19th century. It wasn't until the 19th century that newspapers began to print stories and anecdotes about dinner parties being interrupted by a 13th guest and later one of the guests would be met with misfortune (Lachenmeyer, 2004). Magazines of the time were also...


By the middle of the 19th century, there was a profound awareness of the number 13 and its inherent ill fortune (Lachenmeyer, 2004). Over the decades, hotels were built without 13th floors, dining parties of 13 were not seated, and history has been scoured for the number 13 and any disaster that followed (Number 13, 2010).
The number 13 is regarded as a considerable cause of superstition, as well as religious and holy significance. Western cultures consider the number 13 to be a source of bad luck and misfortune. The origin of the superstition surrounding the number 13 is accredited to both Greek mythology and Jesus Christ. For Christians, the Last Supper included a total of 13 guests, Christ and his 12 disciples. After the Last Supper, Christ was crucified and Judas was killed. The number 13, and particularly dining as a party of 13, has been since viewed as indications of ill fortune. Other cultures revered the number 13 as sacred. The Aztecs created their calendar from measures of thirteen, and thought the number thirteen was to be respected as a measure of time and completion. In Hinduism, the number 13 is not feared, but in the month of Maagha is a source of celebration. It wasn't until the 19th century that the number 13, and its implications of bad luck, became submersed in Western cultures. Whether one chooses to believe the number 13 is an indication of fortune or misfortune, its significance…

Sources Used in Documents:


Lachenmeyer, N. (2004). Thirteen: the story of the world's most popular superstition. New York, NY: Thunder's Mouth Press.

Number 13. (2010). Retrieved 3 February, 2012, from:

Radford, E., & Radford, M. (1949). Encyclopedia of superstitions 1949. New York, NY: Philosophical Library Inc.

Scanlon, T., Luben, R., Scanlon, F., & Singleton, N. (1993). Is friday the 13th bad for your health?. British Medical Journal, 307, 1584-1586.

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