For a special teenager, Fun Facts About 13

20 Dec

Thirteen Years

My daughter Riddhi keeps cribbing about the fact that she doesn’t understand any of my blog posts, even (or maybe specially) those that mention her, or her pain-in-the-you-know-where-sister. She’s been asking me for ever to write a post just for kids. Now that’s a tall order, as she should know – according to her what I know/ understand about kids couldn’t even fill the back of a postage stamp (THAT is what leads to the daily face-offs at home, NOT the fact that Riddhi is nearly a teenager, you see! (sarcasm!)). So, I thought I’d write one for her on her 13th birthday – some fun facts about the number 13….

Here are some of the nicer/ funner facts about 13 (as we all know, it’s considered more of an unlucky number!):

cupcakes– A baker’s dozen is 13 of any baked good. (Yummy, extra cupcakes!)

– The original U.S. flag had 13 stars – (Riddhi, you should know why after the grilling we went through for your first term exam – though you still didn’t score to Lizzie ma’am’s satisfaction 🙂 (just in case you don’t, read this link))

– Colgate University holds the number in high regard because the university was founded by 13 men with 13 dollars, 13 prayers and 13 articles. The campus’ address is even on 13 Oak Drive. To Colgate, anything with a 13 is a good omen. (Oh btw, Colgate university which is in New York, does offer a major in Theatre, so you may be interested in looking at it closely!)


– In Italy, apparently, the number is considered to be very lucky (Couldn’t find a reason why – the only explanation I could get was: Number 13 is Lucky to Italians because of of Ceasars 13 Roman Legion. They were a great success! Maybe you, with all the time you spend at the comp, will have better luck (sarcasm again!) )

– The number of cards in a single suit of a standard deck of playing cards guessed it..13! (To understand why, click this link.. Also, when we were young, mama and I used to love this “song” about the deck of cards – u should listen to it)

– Around 13 per cent of the world’s people are left-handed (This should be of special interest to you 🙂 – btw, Studies have shown that left-handers score very slightly better than right-handers in IQ tests haha). Old terms for left-handed include cack-handed, katy-handed, molly-dook and southpaw. Interestingly, there is a Left-Handers Day (, which has been celebrated every year on August 13 since its inauguration in 1992.


– Some Harry Potter Trivia: As you know, 13 Grimmauld Place is NEXT to 12, and a place where muggles live – they have “long learned to accept the amusing fact that the house next door is 11”. (I wonder Rid why she didn’t make 12 13 though, huh?…)

– OK, some math stuff now (THAT should make you happy! sarcasm yet again!)

1. “Eleven plus two” is an anagram of “twelve plus one”

2. The number 13 is the sixth prime number, and the smallest emirp – a prime that is a different prime when reversed. (This is an interesting fact, huh? Both babba and I didn’t know about emirps)

3. It is also a Fibonacci number, a happy number, the third centered square number, and one of only 3 known Wilson primes.

– Some Birthdays:

1. Achchu’s favorite Taylor Swift was born on December 13. She considers 13 her lucky number due to lucky events happening to her when the number appears (her first album going gold in 13 weeks, being seated at awards shows in the 13th seat, row or section). She also wears the number written on her hand at her concerts so she has it with her everywhere she goes.

2. February 13: Chuck Yeager, (1923), broke the sound barrier in flight.

3. March 13: Neil Sedaka, (1939), singer, songwriter, record producer.

4. April 13: Thomas Jefferson, (1743), one of the founding fathers of the U.S. (Lizzie ma’am seems to be following you around!)

5. May 13: Stevie Wonder, (1950), singer-songwriter (He’s the optically challenged dude – as you/ your sister would say – who was one of the guys in “We are the World”)

6. June 13: Tim Allen, (1953), comedian and actor.

7. July 13: Harrison Ford, (1942), actor.

8. August 13: Alfred Hitchcock, (1899), English filmmaker/producer: psychological thrillers.

9. September 13: Milton Hershey, (1857), founder of the Hershey Chocolate company. ( mmmuuuaaaahhh XXXX)


10. October 13: Paul Simon, (1941), singer-songwriter.

11. November 13: Whoopie Goldberg, (1949), comedian and actress.


– In ancient Greece Zeus was counted as the thirteenth, and most powerful god (OK, since i had a HP reference, I HAD to have a Percy Jackson one too, right?)

The symbolism of thirteen comes into play when we learn of Osiris (the Egyptian god of life, death and powerful solar symbol) was murdered by his brother Typhon. Isis, Osiris’ wife and sister collected his body with intent to restore Osiris back to life. However, Typhon stole Osiris’ body and cut it into fourteen pieces and scattered them about the earth. Isis continued her quest to revive her beloved, but could only reclaim thirteen of the fourteen body parts (the fourteenth part being Osiris’ penis which interestingly fell into the Nile and was eaten by a school of fish which are also symbolic). This tale symbolically implies that the meaning of number thirteen is the precursor to completion.

That was fun, wasn’t it? Now, the bad part of 13!

– Traditionally in hangings, there are 13 knots in the noose and 13 steps leading up to the moment of death.


– According to Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants, there are 13 dirty words (I assume you know them, I didn’t – and was quite shocked when I figured out what they are – isn’t this a serial for kids??)

– There were thirteen participants at the Last Supper. Tradition states that Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table. (This is probably one of the reasons that 13 is considered unlucky. I hope you remember our visit to the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan – and the long line that we waited in before we could see the Cenacolo by de Vinci!).

This is also why many people believe that to seat 13 at a table is unlucky. In fact, in France, socialites called quatorziens (fourteeners) make themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.

– The other big reason for 13 to be considered unlucky is the disaster that befell NASA’s space shuttle, Apollo 13 (the only shuttle to face lack of success). Did you know that Apollo 13 left our planet on the 13th hour? An explosion in the fuel cells of the service module severely crippled the spacecraft.

– There are many people who are fearful of anything associated with the number 13, so much so that the phobia has been given a name: Triskaidekaphobia. Fear of Friday the 13th — one of the most popular myths in science — is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. It is estimated that the fear of Friday the 13th afflicts between 17-21 million people in the USA alone. People who suffered from triskaidekaphobia include Winston Churchill (who refused to sit in row 13 of an aircraft or theatre), Napoleon (I can see you rolling your eyes – L ma’am yet again!) and Christopher Columbus.

– The number of Plutonium slugs in “Fat Man”, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was 13.

Enough unpleasantness, huh?

Other Random facts:

– Although a coven is now just considered to be any group of witches (or vampires, if you’re into a certain young adult series about sparkly supernaturals haha), it was once believed that a coven was made up of exactly 13 members.

– In the late 1800s, there was a group called The Thirteen Club. Their purpose was to debunk the legend that seating 13 people at a table would result in the death of one of them in the year to follow. They met on the 13th of the month and had dinner 13 people to a table, and to make matters worse, they purposely spilled salt on the table without throwing it over their shoulders. The horror! They also fined members who showed up late — 13 cents, of course. Members of the club included five U.S. presidents: Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Chester A. Arthur.

– India has had 13 presidents so far. Pranab Mukherjee is India’s 13th president.

– Ofcourse, as you know, 13 is also the age when facebook allows you to get on (You may have to re-enter your DOB, whatsay Rid?)

And finally, a fact that should be causing you much glee,

– 13 is the age a minor can watch a PG-13 rated movie by the MPAA without the recommendation of parental guidance or parental consent.

So, Rid, happy viewing at the Desolation of Smaug…enjoy your 13th birthday – its special, and so are you!



One Response to “For a special teenager, Fun Facts About 13”


  1. What’s special about Nine – for my “Just short of double digit Niner” | joshsang - September 6, 2014

    […] BECAUSE I wrote a blog post for my older daughter on her 13th birthday (in my mind, it was a milestone – and also she had badgered me no end about writing […]

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