Lucky 13

Lucky numbers

The term ’lucky number’ might call many things to mind. Some can think of the movie released with the same title in 2001, starring John Travolta and our ‘Friend’ Lisa Kudrow. But wait a bit! If we take a look at the income it grossed, only 10 million dollars compared to the 63 million costs, the prospect that this film is burnt into your memory is quite remote. How about the ’number theory’? Does it remind you of anything? In number theory a lucky number is a natural number in a set that is generated by a sieve and as a final result numbers like 1, 3, 7, 9, 13, 15, 21, 31, 33, ….etc. are considered to bring luck. Well, to be honest, this theory does not throw us into fever either. But did you know that in 1979 ‘Lucky Number’ was a hit single in the UK for Lene Lovich? Now, you do. But there is something else you might remember when it comes to Lucky Numbers. The TV series with the same title was a Bingo-based game show from 1995 and it was one of the first UK game shows that made it possible for viewers to take part at home and win.

When one is asked about one’s lucky number, for some people gambling is what promptly comes to mind. Lottery, bingo, roulette and all the other games that are in connection with gambling or  online gambling.
Some say that there is an ‘artificial’ hype around numbers, their meanings and their being lucky or unlucky which was simply created by the Western culture. Actually, it is not quite true. In the Eastern culture the same mystery has been present around people’s every day lives from the first day man began to study numbers and their significance. Nevertheless, nobody would think that in the two cultures certain features are attributed to the same numbers so superstition crosses cultural borders.

Needless to say, that number 13 is one of the most feared figure in our culture. The hysteria surrounding it was so impulsive, that fear of number 13 became a sickness called triskaidekaphobia. In North America it would be difficult to find buildings with floor 13, especially in Las Vegas, the capital of gambling. Albeit nobody knows the origin of this superstition, there are several theories circulating. One of the most popular ones is that there are 13 full moons in a calendar year and since the moon is thought to control emotions and makes people lunatic, 13 brings bad luck. The other explanation is rooted in arts, namely in the famous painting of Jesus at the Last Supper. Judas, who betrayed Jesus is the 13th person in the row from left to right. In Persian cultures it is an unlucky number, too. If the 13th is a Friday, it is considered to be a bad day since the massacre of the Knight’s Templar in 1307.

Number 7 is said to bring good luck. The root of that belief goes back to religion. Do you know the connection? God created the world in 7 days and the length of festivals and the arrangement of the Sabbath are also connected to this number. Until the 1800’s seven planets were known in the solar system and Pythagoreans considered number 7 the most perfect number. And can you recall how many spots can be found on a ladybird’s back?

4 is the number 13 of the Eastern cultures. Many buildings in Asian areas do not have a 4th floor. The explanation goes back to the Japanese language since the pronunciation of 4 (shi) is similar to the word ‘death’ (also pronounced ‘shi’). Giving a gift that is made up of four pieces is impolite since it is believed to bring bad luck. For this reason, in Western cultures it is better not give a bouquet of flowers consisting of four pieces.

Picking your own lucky numbers is your task. There might be a number that repeatedly appears in your life, or you might consider a historical number as your personal lucky number; the most important thing is to pay attention to these unique figures and remember them.

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