Recently, a new Belgian carrier, Brussels Airlines was surprised when there was a deluge of complaints from its passengers about its new logo. The new logo carried 13 dots making the stylized âbâ. Apparently, the passengers feared traveling with the 13 dots of the airline logo. The airline had to oblige by adding one more dot in the logo.
It is âcommon senseâ now to quietly omit the number 13 from flight seats, airport gates, hotel rooms or floors, hospitals beds or floors, restaurants tables, etc. The list is numerous and varied, and gets stranger by the numbers. There is even a saying that if there are 13 guests in a party, one will die the following year. Jeeze!
The fear of number 13 is evident enough to acquire a name- Triskaidekaphobia, derived from the Greek origins, tris=three, kai=and, deka=ten.
The origin of the ânumber 13â, fear, it is said, dates back to 1760 BC. The Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi, law codes from ancient Babylon, omits number 13 from its list. However, in Christian tradition, it is believed, that at the Last Supper Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th person to sit at the table. In the tarot cards the 13th card of the Major Arcana is Death, maybe it triggered the uncanny feeling about the number 13.
Like the number 13, the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese fear the number 4. They avoid it like plague, whether it is in buildings, offices, apartments, or even car numberplate. Similarly, Italians avoid the number 17 because by rearranging the roman numerals brings up the word VIXI, which means âI livedâ.
But the number 13 seems the most widespread, as Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and Italians all avoid the number 13 too.