Why do we still avoid the number 13?


By Natalie GriceBBC News

Sarah Thomas A building without a 13th floorSarah Thomas

The omission of the number 13 from buildings persists into the twenty first Century

On the thirteenth day of a month, the climate turns moist, chilly and gray after a gloriously heat and sunny weekend. That’s unfortunate.

Coincidence? Of course – that is British climate. But 14% of British individuals surveyed consider the number 13 is inherently unfortunate, whereas an additional 9% do not know.

The persevering with perception in 13’s malign affect is so baked into our tradition that even a down-to-earth career like constructing is affected by it, as a building web site in Cardiff has proven.

As some commuters famous, one in all the interior supporting towers being constructed for the Central Quay improvement on the previous Brain’s brewery web site had numbers displayed on each flooring of the unfinished constructing – with a evident omission on the thirteenth.

This is extra frequent than you would possibly assume in the twenty first Century. Some buildings, together with condo blocks and lodges, skip 13 totally.

The thirteenth flooring could also be named 12A, or used to accommodate infrastructure the constructing wants relatively than residences or places of work.

Others, like one in all the taller lodges in Cardiff, soar straight from 12 to 14.

Getty Images One Canada Square and the London EyeGetty Images

Both One Canada Square in Canary Wharf (centre, left image) and the London Eye eschew the number 13

Houses numbered 13 are normally cheaper whereas in the previous some councils have truly banned new housing developments from using the number as a result of residents do not like dwelling there.

Sarah Thomas from Grangetown in Cardiff noticed the tower on the Brains web site when she was popping out of her places of work at Network Rail close by.

“It piqued my curiosity once I noticed it was lacking,” she mentioned.

“I did assume it was right down to superstition, however I Googled to substantiate and solely then realised how extensively practised it’s. Quite a number of associates have mentioned they have been in buildings or lifts the place the number 13 is lacking – clearly I would like to go to some taller constructions.”

She describes herself as not superstitious however feels some habits stem from frequent sense, including: “I’d relatively not stroll beneath a ladder if doable, to avoid the threat of damage.

“I do discover the historical past behind superstitions attention-grabbing as they offer us an perception into how individuals linked particular occasions with extra day-to-day actions.”

Some of the most high-profile constructions in the UK retain the superstition.

When London’s Canary Wharf was redeveloped and the distinctive One Canada Square tower was inbuilt 1990 – at the time the tallest constructing in the UK – it opened its doorways minus a flooring 13 and stays the identical right this moment.

And if you wish to take a spin on one in all the London Eye’s 32 pods, chances are you’ll be stunned to study you possibly can e book number 33. Which, naturally, replaces the lacking number 13.

Why is the number 13 considered unfortunate?

Getty Images painting The Last Supper of ChristGetty Images

The final supper of Christ noticed 13 individuals dine earlier than he was arrested and executed

Conventional knowledge has blamed a number of sources for 13’s supposed dangerous luck.

One is linked to Christianity – there have been 13 individuals at Jesus Christ’s final supper which occurred simply earlier than he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, the thirteenth to be seated, and arrested for blasphemy.

Similarly in Norse mythology, Loki, the god of mischief and deception, is the thirteenth visitor at a dinner of the gods the place he tips one in all Odin’s sons into killing one other.

The worry of 13 – formally referred to as triskaidekaphobia – goes into overdrive when coupled with Friday, which can also be loosely related to dangerous luck as a result of it was the day Christ died on.

Juliette Wood Dr Juliette WoodJuliette Wood

Superstitions round the number 13 developed extra not too long ago than we would possibly assume, says folklore professional Juliette Wood

But why do individuals in supposedly enlightened societies still cling to such a perception?

Perhaps as a result of, surprisingly, it’s a fairly trendy perception and never one with centuries of custom behind it in spite of everything, in response to Cardiff University lecturer Dr Juliette Wood, an professional in mythology and folklore.

“It is not folklore in the sense that it is not an previous custom. It has nothing to do with the truth there have been 13 individuals at the final supper,” she mentioned.

Instead, she believes it’s basically a media creation which turned widespread round the flip of the twentieth Century, which has change into a sort of trendy folklore in its personal proper and is bolstered by way of media, together with movies resembling Friday the thirteenth.

Marvel/Disney Tom Hiddlestone as LokiMarvel/Disney

Loki, portrayed by Tom Hiddlestone in the Marvel/Disney TV collection, was one other infamous thirteenth visitor in mythology

Searches again past this time haven’t produced references to unfortunate number 13.

But individuals look again for tales that match the creation of a delusion, and have latched on to the most well-known examples.

“It sort of makes a lot sense, significantly due to the final supper hyperlink, that it is caught,” Dr Wood explains.

The concept of Loki as a supply is more likely to be much more latest.

She added: “This notion of Norse mythology as a sort of touchstone for tradition is definitely fairly latest.

“It goes again to the curiosity that you just discover in Britain in the nineteenth Century to find our Germanic heritage and a number of British students translated the Nordic myths for the first time.

“And now after all since the Marvel movies, Loki is a hero. So you get causes to give attention to a selected determine and also you get this sort of transference.”

Unlucky days

The concept of unfortunate days is certainly a a lot older conference – consider the Roman Ides of March (the fifteenth) which was bolstered in Roman perception following the assassination of Julius Caesar on that day, and popularised by the Shakespearean tragedy telling his story.

Dr Wood mentioned: “We love superstitions. We love to have the ability to say on this extremely mechanistic, extremely unsure world ‘oh nicely it is custom’.

“It appears to go in opposition to all sense, however with the ability to ascribe one thing to an out of doors, not malevolent energy however actually fatalistic one, someway makes us really feel extra comfy and fewer insecure.

Katie Griffin Katie GriffinKatie Griffin

Katie Griffin has seen number 13s omitted on housing developments

Katie Griffin, from property agent physique Propertymark, who runs her personal enterprise in Devon, confirms avoidance of the number 13 can still be a factor in housebuilding.

“I would not say that it could detract from the worth [of a house] however typically to be able to cease that, builders will utterly omit number 13. That has been in the previous that you’ll go 11, 12, 14,” she says.

“I do not particularly have individuals are available and say ‘I’m superstitious and I do not need be in number 13’ however they might say ‘I do not wish to be close to a churchyard or a cemetery’.

“So if you scratch the floor you abruptly go, oh my gosh there are this stuff which can be on the market. It relies upon whether or not you’re of a delicate nature, however you might flip it on its head and say nicely for those who purchase number 13, you might get a greater deal.”

Odessa Barthorpe

Odessa Barthorpe finds superstitions attention-grabbing however wouldn’t reside her life by them

A short survey of commuters close to the tower appeared to recommend most individuals took the superstition with a pinch of salt (thrown over a shoulder?).

Odessa Barthorpe, from Cardiff, believes superstition is the results of tradition or upbringing however would personally fortunately reside on a thirteenth flooring, including: “I believe it is in all probability a hangover from days when we did not know the way the world labored and we needed to make stuff up.

“It’s attention-grabbing. But when it comes to dwelling your life by it, no.”

Carmen Abad from Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan, grew up in South East Asia the place there are “lots of superstitions” however she does not actually consider in them.

“So personally I would not care about dwelling on the thirteenth flooring. If it was a less expensive condo I’d go for it,” she says

For future residents of the Cardiff tower – the administration firm has confirmed the thirteenth flooring could have each a number and residences to lease as soon as it’s accomplished.

Cheaper? Now that might be fortunate.

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