In Western culture, Friday the 13th has always been believed to be an unlucky day, despite there being no evidence of this before the 19th century. This holiday can happen anywhere from 1 to 3 times a year. In the years between 2010 and 2019, there were 3 Friday the 13ths in 2012 and 2015, 2 in 2013, 2017 and 2019. In the years between 2020-2029 there will be 3 Friday the 13ths in 2026, 2 between 2023 – 2024 and 2 in 2029. The average is recorded at 2 or 3 a year. There is never more than 3 a year and never less than 1a year. Today was and will be the only Friday the 13th this year. Friday the 13th has inspired horror movie figures such as Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street and, in fact, a whole horror film franchise. It has also been related to various ill events in history which we will discuss below.
An Ill Omen
I mentioned above that various events have been linked to this very unlucky day. Two such events are the Last Supper and the Trials of the Knights Templar. Catholics believe that the number 13 is an unlucky number because according to the calendars at the time, Jesus was brought for execution on Thursday 13 and the Friday of the 14th, he was crucified
The Trials of the Knights Templar is another event in history that is always associated with Friday the 13th with their arrest on Friday the 13th, October, 1307. This was due to Philip IV’s desire for the vast wealth acquired by the Templars during the First Crusades.
Donald Dossey, a famous folklore historian, believes that this belief stems from Norse mythology. The story is that one day 12 gods were having a dinner in Valhalla when Loki arrived unwelcome. He arranged for Balder to me murdered by another god with a mistletoe tipped arrow. Quoted, Dossey says, “Balder died, and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It was a bad, unlucky day.” This made the number “13” an unlucky number.
This belief inspired a 19th century secret society called The Thirteen Club. This club contained such famous members as Chester Arthur, Grover Cloveland, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Their sole aim was to prove that Friday the 13th wasn’t an unlucky day.
As well as inspiring a secret society, it also inspire a horror franchise and two phobias. These phobias are paraskavedektriaphobia and friggatriskaidekophobia.
In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer writes that starting a journey on a Friday was bad luck. However, Chaucer isn’t the only famous author to use this day in his literary creations. Dan Brown, as well as many other historical fiction writers, mention this day when discussing the Knights Templars.
I mentioned above that in Catholic belief, they hold that the Last Supper was considered evidence that 13 is an unlucky number, this due to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ being on a Friday. The Catholics are not the only culture to hold that the number 13 is an unlucky number. In the Code of Hammurabi there was actually no 13th day at all.
In Western cultures, the number 12 is often referred to as the number of completeness (12 months of the years and 12 gods of Olympus), while the number 13 has acquired a reputation for being bad luck number. It is believed that it is bad luck to have a wedding on a Friday and, as Chaucer mentioned, to start a journey on a Friday.
Today is day surrounded by so much controversy. Is it good? Is it bad? I guess, you will need to decide for yourself. What do you believe? All I can say is that it’s one interesting day with a dark, rich history. Mentioned down the ages from the Hammurabi Code to the Nightmare on Elm Street, this day has always been believed to be a bad day; but do you really believe it or is it just another day? For me, it’s my favourite day. My favourite number is 13 and I love Fridays. So it’s the perfect combination for me.
I wish you all a day filled with good luck and not bad. God bless, my dear avidReaders