13 facts about 13

By Anna Boratyn
Executive Opinion Editor
Have you noticed that there’s been a strangely large amount of Friday the 13th’s this school in year. In honor of this freaky occurrence, one which happened just two weeks ago, I’m bringing you 13 facts about 13.

  1. Folklore often includes the number thirteen.  This is thought to be because in a lunar-solar calendar, there are 12.41 rotations of the moon around the earth.  This results in 12 normal months and a smaller, 13th month.
  2.    13 is the smallest emirp, or prime number that when reversed, is still prime.  In this case, 13 is an emirp because, when reversed, it is 31.
  3. 13  is part of Fibonacci sequence, a sequence which often appears in nature and is made by adding two consecutive numbers.  1, 1,2,3,5,8,13
  4. 13 is also a happy number.  When a happy number is replaced by the sum of the squares of it’s digits, and this process is repeated several times, the number will become 1. Numbers that never equal one under this process are called sad numbers.  Thirteen is the second happy prime.  The first is 7.
  5. A baker’s dozen consist of thirteen things, and there are thirteen cards in a suit.
  6. In Roman Catholicism, apparitions of the Virgin of Fatima where claimed to occur on the 13th of six consecutive months.  There were also thirteen people at the last supper—Jesus plus twelve apostles.
  7. In Judaism, 13 is the age a teenager becomes considered as a full member of the Jewish faith.  At thirteen, girls have a Bat Mitzvah and boys have a Bar Mitzvah.
  8. In Zoroastriansim, an ancient Iranian religion, the number 13 was considered evil.  The 13th day of each Iranian New Year was considered particularly evil, and the superstitious would desert cities and towns and camp out in the countryside until the day was over.  Despite the current Iranian government’s wishes, this tradition is still practiced.
  9. The end of the Mayan calendar’s 13th Baktun, or 13th set of twenty cycles,  is feared as the omen of an apocalyptic phenomenon in 2012.
  10. Fear of the number 13 is known as triskaidekaphobia.  Manufacturers and companies will often accommodate this fear by not including the 13th floor in high rise buildings (by calling it floor 12 A, skipping it altogether, or using it for a special purpose, like a pool floor. Formula One car racing doesn’t include the number thirteen.   The current Formula One numbering system skips from 12 to 14.
  11. Hangman’s nooses have traditionally been tied with 13 turns.
  12. The number thirteen has several historical implications.  There where thirteen original American colonies.  Julius Cesar crossed the Rubicon with the 13th Legion, marking the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire. Apollo 13 was the only unsuccessful mission by the US intended to land humans on the moon.  The mission was derailed by the explosion of an oxygen tank on April 13th.
  13.  There have been three Friday the 13th’s this year.