Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday The Thirteenth -- Unlucky, Why?

In Western culture Friday the thirteen strikes fear in the hearts of many, and Hollywood has done its fair share to exploit it. But have you ever wondered where the superstition began? What is it about this particular combination of day and date that causes us to expect trouble? If one is to go back in history there are many factors that feed into the fear, especially those deeply rooted in Christian theology.

  • There were 12 in attendance at the last supper until Judas appeared as the 13th.
  • Jesus was crucified on a Friday
  • Some believe that the great flood started on a Friday
  • It is also said by some that Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit on a Friday.
  • Sailors, subject to the superstition would never ship out on a Friday, feeling it could only end badly. There is a legend, likely untrue, that a British ship called the H.M.S. Friday, with a captain named Friday set out on it's maiden voyage on . . . you guessed it . . .Friday only to be lost forever.
  • In Norse mythology, Balder was attending a dinner party with 12 guests when the mischievous god Loki appeared as a 13th and killed the beloved hero.
  • Then there was the flight of Apollo 13.

Interestingly Egyptians, believing that life on earth evolved in twelve stages with the happy journey into the afterlife being the thirteenth, thought of the number 13 as lucky.

Whatever bred the superstition, it has taken on a life of it's own.


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