The unmber 13 has been a deeply ingrained symbol of bad luck in many countries and for many centuries. In ancient Babylon, 13 people were chosen to personify the gods in certain religious rites. One person, however, was always seated apart from the others and was put to death at the end of the ceremony. In the Bible, 13 were present at the Last Supper, and Jesus Christ foretold that one of them would soon betray him. Even today some people hesitate to sit down when there are 13 at a table.
Culture and language influence superstitions. In China and Japan, the number 13 has no particular significance, but 4 is unlucky, perhaps because the Chinese character, or ideograph, for four also signifies death.