Our motoring editor is here to answer your questions about the superstitious number and date. Historians have different opinions regarding the origin of 13 as an unlucky number. Some argue that it is related to the Last Supper, where there were 13 people present and the 13th person was Judas. Triskaidekaphobia is the irrational fear of the number 13, but did you know about Friggatriskaidekaphobia, which comes from Norse mythology? It refers to the fear of Friday the 13th or Paraskevidekatriaphobia, based on Paraskevi, the Greek word for Friday.
Why do some people fear Friday the 13th? Historians have different theories on this as well. Some believe it stems from the Last Supper, where 13 people were present, and the 13th person, Judas, betrayed Jesus, who was crucified on a Friday. Numerologists argue that the fear may be linked to 12 being a “complete” number, as seen in Zodiac signs, months in the year, and hours in a day, which all revolve around the number 12.
Does the fear of the number 13 impact sales? Interestingly, many airlines, such as Ryanair, Air France, and KLM, don’t have a row 13. Similarly, some hotel floors skip from 12 to 14. There have also been claims that residential addresses with the number 13 sell for less than others.
Are motorists reluctant to buy a car with the number 13 on the registration plate? In 2013, the government made a decision to change the number plate system. They introduced a second registration period in July to distribute demand more evenly throughout the year and alleviate pressure on dealerships during the first three months. This change meant that cars registered between January and the end of June had a ‘131’ registration, while those registered from July 1 onwards had a ‘132’ on the plate.
While the Society of the Irish Motor Industry had been advocating for this change for years, the decision to introduce it in 2013 was not a coincidence. There were concerns that superstition surrounding a “13 registration” might impact car sales, as motorists feared it would bring them bad luck or make it difficult to resell a car with a 13 plate. At the time, car sales had significantly declined from a peak of 186,546 in 2007 to 79,544 in 2012, so there was genuine worry about anything that could further affect sales. Despite the introduction of the new registration system, car sales still fell by 6.5% in 2013.
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