Is it true that the number 13 brings bad luck?
It was a eulogy for the late Escolastica Tudela Cabrera of Saipan, a dear friend and cultural icon, that brought out the following associations with that number, frightful to many but NOT frightful to the Cabrera family. For them, some happy things happened or are associated with the number 13, and some sad.
Esco's husband, Gregorio, was born on the 13th of January.
He also died on the 13th of November.
Esco herself was the 13th child conceived by her mother, when one counts even the children who died in miscarriage.
In addition, Esco and Gregorio had 13 children.
Esco's first procedure for her heart, in Hawaii, happened 13 years before her last one, which preceded her death.
After her last visit to Hawaii for medical care, she departed Hawaii for Saipan and arrived home on the 13th of October.
Nine days after returning to Saipan, she died. Our custom is to have nine days/nights of rosary for the dead.
Which means, when we start her rosary for her 1st anniversary of death next year, it will commence on the 13th of October.
The children of the late Esco and her late husband Gregorio are so proud that there are 13 of them that they highlighted this fact on the envelope they gave me as a gift.
HOW DID 13 GET TO BE A BAD NUMBER?
Scholars aren't sure.
Some say it's because there were 13 people at the Last Supper, with the traitor, Judas, being number 13. 12 Apostles and Our Lord make 13.
But how can this explain the fact that 13 was believed to be a bad number among non-Jewish and non-Christian people long before the time of Christ? In the Code of Hammurabi, for example, there is no Law #13. One goes from #12 to #14.
In some cultures, a year with 13 full moons is a bad omen.
And there are 13 menstrual cycles in one calendar year. But since the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar, in many cultures (the masculine over the female), 13 became, for them, a bad number.
BUT 13 IS A GOOD NUMBER AMONG SOME PEOPLE
Colgate University was founded by 13 people, with $13 and 13 prayers and 13 articles. Its address is 13 Oak Drive. They consider 13 a good number.
And a baker's dozen includes a 13th baked good thrown in to reward a faithful customer or make a new one.
A 13th donut is never a bad thing!
IN THE WORLD OF RELIGION
Even in religion, thirteen is not necessarily a bad thing.
In Judaism, a Jewish male becomes an adult and a full member of the Covenant community at age 13. That's when he has his Bar Mitzvah.
And when Our Lady appeared in Fatima, on May 13, she told the three children to return to see her every 13th of the month.
The Miracle of the Sun, pictured above, with some people kneeling, looking up at the sky in awe and admiration, occurred on October 13, 1917. That was the last appearance of Our Lady there.
BY THE WAY...
In some cultures, like in Asia, the number four is the bad one. That's because the word for the number four sounds like the word for "death."