Friday the Thirteenth

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Since last Friday was the eerie, unlucky day of the number thirteen, this article will go into the ins and outs of this day.

How did Friday the Thirteenth become such an unlucky day?

Fear of Friday the 13th is rooted in ancient, seprate bad-luck associations with the number 13 and the day Friday. The two unlucky entities combine to make one super unlucky day. There is a Norse myth about 12 gods having dinner at Valhalla, their heaven. The uninvitied 13th guest, the mischievous Loki, walked in. There, sly Loki incited Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder died and the Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. There is a Biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper. A particulary bad Friday the 13th occured in the middle ages. On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templer and began toturing them, making the occasion as a day of evil. In ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil. Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely asscociated with capital punishment. In a British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to noose. It is traditionally believed that Eve temped Adam with the apple on a Friday. Tradition also has it that the Flood in the Bible, the confusion at the Tower of Babel, and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on Friday. Numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months on a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13's association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.

How is fear of the number thirteen demonstrated?

More than 80 percent of high-raises lack a 13th floor. Many airports skip the 13th gate. Airplanes sometimes have no 13th seat. Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13. Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many triskaidekaphobes, as those who fear the unlucky integer are known, point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck. Jack the Ripper, Chalres Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.

Superstitions of Friday the 13th:

  • Right from the 13th Century, the prevalent Aristotellan belief has illustrated the anti-malefic properties of garlic.
  • It is believed that walking around the house 13 times on this day helps keep the evils away.
  • Keeping a mirror outside the main door of the house does not allow negative forces to enter the house. Rather they get reflected in the opposite direction.
  • Walking around the block with a mouthful of water is potent enough to keep bad influences at bay.

So, what about you? Are you afraid of something? Do you believe in superstitions? Ponder about it the next time Friday the 13th approaches.