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History & Superstitions on Friday the 13th

Maya Pillai
Friday the 13th has many legends, folklore and history associated with it. For many the number 13 symbolizes evil and death. They consider this combination to be unlucky.
One of my neighbors was yelling at the security guards. Since they were my immediate neighbors, I asked him what was the matter. He told me that his laptop was missing. He had left it in his living room before going out for a walk in the morning; leaving the entrance door ajar.
I also overheard his wife telling one of the neighbors that today is Friday the 13th and things can go wrong today. It is then I realized that the day was Friday and the date was 13th.
Frankly speaking, it sent a chill down my back. On the way to the office I filled my husband in on the event and how I felt about it. He simply brushed it aside by telling me that it is a superstition.
However, I could not get it out of my mind.
That is when I decided to research the origins of this superstition and get a hold on happenings and events surrounding this particular date.

Friday the 13th Phobia

There are lots of speculations and superstitious beliefs about the date 13, globally.
Many consider the number 13 and Friday, the 6th day of the week, to bring bad luck. Bring both together and WHAM - you have double-powered bad-luck served on a platter!

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Though many believe it to be an unlucky day, there are many groups who defy such thoughts and superstitions.
Some activities like cutting your hair or nails, shifting to a new house, commencing a new venture, purchasing a new vehicle, etc. are avoided by many on Fridays or on the 13th day of the month. It may surprise you to know that some people even avoid traveling on Fridays or the 13th day of any month! There are many stories and myths attached with this date.
Do the terms triskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia mean anything to you? Have you come across these terms?
  • Triskaidekaphobia means fear of the number 13.
  • Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th.
Dr. Donald Dossey, an American psychotherapist, coined these terms. There are many people who are treated for these phobias.
It is believed that some people would completely cancel or postpone their daily activities if they happen to fall on a Friday-the-13th date and reschedule important business meetings and travel plans to another day.
A loss of millions of dollars is recorded on this day. This day, for many, is to laze around within the premises of one's home because of the fear of bad luck striking them if they did venture out.
Psychotherapists are of the opinion that people who are insecure are the ones who are superstitious enough to believe that the 13th that falls on a Friday is an unlucky day. However, it is the belief and the superstitions instilled in childhood that control a person's faith.

Legends of Friday the 13th

There are many legends with regards to the ominous number 13 and why Friday was considered to be an unlucky day. Ancient Egyptians considered the number 13 as symbol of death. Remember, ancient Egyptians believed in life after death?
There are many folklores connected with this superstition. The story given below will give you an idea why people consider the number 13 as a sinister number during the Medieval Age.
According to the Norse myths, once upon a time at Valhalla, the heaven of the Norse Gods, Gods were invited for a party by Balder - the God of Joy and Gladness. There were 12 Norse Gods, including Balder, partying. When the party was in full swing the God of Mischief Loki walked in. He was the uninvited 13th god.
He showed his anger by arranging Hoder, the blind God of Darkness to kill Balder with a poisonous mistletoe arrow. It is believed that the Earth plunged into darkness and evil took over the reign. This could be one of the reasons why some people consider number 13 to be ominous and unlucky.
Friday is also considered to be unlucky by the believers of Christianity. Some believe Jesus Christ was crucified on this day. There is also another belief that Friday was the day that Eve tempted Adam to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
Christians around the world believe that number 13 brings ill luck because there were 13 people at "The Last Supper" (also known as known as the Lord's supper was the last meal Jesus had with his 12 Apostles).
Another significant reason is that it was on Friday the 13th that Cain was slain by Abel. According to the old testament of the bible, it was on a Friday that God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel.
It is also believed that the Great flood of the Greek myth in which Noah is the hero, began on a Friday and the Temple of Solomon was demolished on a Friday.The mentioned facts and myths are more than enough to believe Friday coupled with 13th date of a month unleashes evil and brings ill luck.

Friday the 13th - Historical Facts

Historical records say that Jacques de Molay Grand Master of the Templars was arrested on October 13th, 1307 AD - a Friday. Eventually he was executed in 1314 AD. Hence, Friday the 13th, is considered to be an unlucky day in Europe.
These superstitions have been passed over from one generation to another. Hence, even today, many do not dare to venture outside their house, travel and launch new business. They prefer to bear the losses than be a victim of ill luck.
The dates for traditional weddings are usually not set on this day, though with the emergence and stronghold of the Goth subculture, a lot of Gothic weddings are, sometimes, scheduled on the 13th, just for the ominous effect. This day is known as the devil's day. This day symbolizes death and is considered to be unlucky.
To sum up, the luck and ill-luck solely depends on the beliefs that were inculcated in a person during his growing up days. Even if this date does not actually BRING ill luck, there's no denying the fact that a surprisingly large number of unfortunate events took place on this day, as presented by the aforementioned historical and mythological facts!
Hollywood also did its share in driving the ill-luck superstition deeper into the public psyche with the Friday the 13th movie franchise in which the lead antagonist, Jason Voorhes, a psychotic serial murderer, is mentioned as having been born on this ominous date.