THIRTEEN AT TABLE.
In many cultures the presence of thirteen at a dinner table is considered unlucky. In part this is due to the general superstitions which surrounded the number, yet it is clear that dining with thirteen is a special concern. The French used to hire an additional dinner (or Quartorzienne) to make up the fourteenth place. At the Savoy Hotel, London, a wooden cat named Kaspar (carved by Basil Ionides, 1926) is set a place at table when a party of 13 sits down to eat. The most obvious source of these concerns must be the Last Supper when Jesus broke bread with his Apostles the night before his death. in ancient Norse mythology thirteen was considered unlucky after the events at a banquet in Valhalla where Baldur was slain after Loki had intruded, thus becoming the thirteenth diner.
Ben Schott, Schott’s Food & Drink Miscellany.