Friday the 13th: A History of Both Lucky and Unlucky Associations

Today is Friday April 13th or "Friday the 13th" as many will term it. It is believed to be a day of bad luck, however, throughout history, it has also been a lucky and even preferred day for events for many. According to TimeAndDate.com, many parties, some with themes similar to Halloween, are celebrated on this day. Some charities use the day to hold fundraising events. Friday 13 is a big celebration for motorcyclists at Port Dover in Ontario, Canada. They call their event PD13, and it attracts large crowds. In 2012, Friday the 13th occurs three times: January 13, April 13 and July 13.

Some people have won millions of dollars through the lottery on Friday 13. According to CNN.com, one British couple won $17 million after buying their lottery ticket on Friday 13, the same day that their mirror at home fell and broke! Many people also believe Friday 13 is a lucky day for children to be born.

The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia - "Frigg" is the Norse goddess whom Friday is named after and "triskaidekaphobia" means the fear of "13". It's also known as paraskevidekatriaphobia, partly from the Greek word Friday. It is a real fear - some people who have this disorder are even too afraid to say the words “Friday the 13th”. Others avoid flying on a plane, going to work, or even getting out of bed. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, millions of Americans are afraid of Friday the 13th. Symptoms of this fear range from mild anxiety and a nagging sense of doom to full-blown panic attacks.

Some say that the concepts of Friday and the number 13 as being an unlucky are linked to the Bible. For example, Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, has been labelled as ""the 13th guest" at the Last Supper.

Events that supposedly occurred on a Friday include the great flood during the time of Noah, the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel, the day Eve tempted Adam with the apple, and the day Jesus Christ died. On Friday 13, October 1307, a warrant was issued for the Knights Templars to be arrested. Masses of Templars were tortured or executed by burning at the stake.

The superstition surrounding Friday 13 could also be linked to Norse mythology. According to legend, 12 gods were at a banquet at Valhalla when Loke, the demi god of mischief who was not invited, turned up, bringing the total number of guests to 13. He was responsible for the chaos that led to the death of one of the good gods – Balder – so all the gods grieved.

The ancient Egyptians thought the number 13 was lucky because they believed that the 13th stage of life was related to the afterlife. After the decline of the ancient Egyptian civilization the number 13 was still associated with death but with fear.

Some people believe that the number 13 and black cats, which are associated with Friday 13, are symbols of femininity. Friday the 13th has been commercialized by Hollywood movies such as American cult horror film “Friday the 13th” and its sequels. An image of a hockey mask is often associated with the film.

Friday 13 in August is considered unluckier than any other Friday 13 in Brazil, especially as agosto (August) rhymes with desgosto (sorrow).

In many Spanish speaking countries, the movie "Friday the 13th" was renamed to Tuesday the 13th ("Martes 13") Tuesday 13 is believed to be a day of bad luck, not Friday 13.

 

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