Are you superstitious? It is estimated that 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.
According to folklores, there is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century.
Most folklore is passed on through oral traditions and determining the origins of superstitions is an inexact science, at best. In fact, it’s mostly guesswork. Consequently, several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.
In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness: twelve months of the year, twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve hours of the clock, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, twelve gods of Olympus and so on, whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular.
There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects.
Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s. It has also been suggested that Friday was the day that Jesus was crucified.
The actual origin of the superstition appears also to be a tale in Norse mythology. Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil – a gathering of thirteen and plotted ill turns of fate for the coming week. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as ‘Witches’ Sabbath.’
Another theory traces the event to the arrest of the legendary Knights Templar. According to one expert:
“The Knights Templar were a monastic military order founded in Jerusalem in 1118, whose mission was to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, the Knights Templar became extraordinarily powerful and wealthy. Threatened by that power and eager to acquire their wealth, King Philip secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France on Friday, October 13, 1307 – Friday the 13th.”
The connection between the superstition and the Knights Templar was made popular in the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code.
It wasn’t until the 20th centurythat the superstition became common, with little evidence to support it prior to 1907 when Thomas Lawson’s novel ‘Friday, the Thirteenth’ was published, telling the story of an unscrupulous broker taking advantage of the superstition to create a panic on Wall Street on a Friday the 13th.
Have a wonderful Friday the 13th!