It might have been a coincidence that they reserved a wedding chapel for Saturday (Dec. 13), though plenty of couples tried.
For a couple named Sharon and Brian, it was a good thing they were early birds when they nailed down the date for their all-day wedding party at Fox Island’s Chapel on Echo Bay.
“That date, 12-13-14, was a very popular one,” chapel manager Marty Harvey said. “Sharon was a lucky gal. She got it booked back in April.”
According to People magazine, wedding chapels around the country have been snapped up by couples wanting that Dec. 13, 2014, date.
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“There’s a sort of cultural phenomenon that’s happened recently, attached importance to these kinds of days,” said Tom Edgar, an associate math professor at Pacific Lutheran University. “People just like these dates.”
There have been a spate of such numbers on recent calendars: 10-10-10, 11-11-11, 12-12-12, among them.
It’s a trend that may have peaked this year with a sequential-numbered date, 12-13-14.
How rare is it? There won’t be another this century.
“You could say the next would be Jan. 2, 2103,” Edgar said. “Most of us won’t be around for that. If you include the entire year instead of shortening it, the next fully sequential number will be Jan. 2, 3456 — 1-2-3-4-5-6.
“None of us will be around for that that one.”
Tacoma numerologist Connie Rose remains unimpressed.
“They seem to happen every year; we had 11-12-13 last year,” she said. “They’re not terribly significant.”
Still, Rose was willing to look at the numbers and come up with a reading of them.
“The number adds up to a ‘five day,’ which indicates freedom, progress. It should be a day of movement, maybe a bit chaotic,” Rose said. “Five energy is a fun energy, light-hearted.
“The sequence of 12-13-14? It’s a pattern, so it’s a flowing energy. Last year 11-12-13 was a weird day for me and I can’t remember why. This one feels more fun, light-hearted, a party day — a day of celebration!”
Over the centuries, humans have shown an interest in sequential numbers. Doubt that? Fire up your computer.
“People just like number sequence patterns, like 2-4-6,” Edgar said. “Or doubling numbers, like 4-8-16. There’s a database online — OEIS.org — that was established by a mathematician who once kept all the information on his Rolodex.”
If you go there, be prepared. If you’re not, say, a serious mathematician, you could be in trouble. Visit the website and type in any sequence of numbers and click search.
The site was four years old on Friday, and 70,000 sequences had been added to it in that time.
Type in a simple one, like 1-2-3, and within a few seconds it lists 19,601 different references. If you were of a certain generation, and a columnist, you would flee.
As for 12-13-14, Edgar acknowledges he didn’t realize the date was coming.
“It’s finals time around here,” he said. “If it had fallen on a class day, I’d have done something with my math majors and students.”
“For Pi Day, we made it pie day,” Edgar said.
Again, if you’re not a math nut, you may not have heard. Pi Day celebrates the mathematical constant of pi, which is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which rounds to 3.14.
It falls each year on March 14. Columnists of a certain generation do not recognize it as a true holiday.
Some folks can’t get enough numbers. Aziz S. Inan, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Portland, is one of those.
“Eight or nine years ago, I was wandering in Powell’s Bookstore and found a book that talked about special numbers,” Inan said. “It had calendar dates, palindrome dates, perfect squared dates, sequential dates. It fascinated me.”
So did 12-13-14.
“It’s fun because its made up entirely of our first four digits,” Inan said.
“I have fun teaching. What I’ve found is that when I share these numbers with students, I can get their attention. Unique, sequential numbers seem to have special powers for some people. They’ll arrange weddings, special dates around them.”
If Inan’s students seem to be dozing, he has one more weapon in his arsenal.
“The word ‘sequential’, we all knows what it means,” Inan said. “If you assign numbers to the letters — ‘S’ is the 19th letter of the alphabet, and so on — and add those numbers, you come up with 123.”