Friday the 13th

13227090_271313933210696_2141881762344187272_nEvery culture has some sort of superstition around the number 13.  Friday the 13th was said to be the most unlucky day of the year.  There’s even a phobia-  triskaidekaphobia.  Why did 13 and specifically Friday the 13th become so feared?

Some folklorists maintain there is no written evidence for the superstition prior to the 19th century.  However, there is anecdotal from much earlier.  Catholic belief was Christ was crucified on Friday the 13th.  Some Christians take it farther and say Eve tempted Adam, the Flood began, the Temple of Solomon was destroyed and the Tower of Babel fell all on Friday the 13th.  From a non Christian perspective, there were 12 gods and goddesses at a feast at Valhalla and Loki gate crashed, bringing the number of guests the 13.  The ensuing strife killed Baldur, the favorite the gods.  This folds into Christian tradition, where at the last supper there were 13 guests.  From early times because of these tales, inviting 13 to a meal was extremely unlucky and foretold death.

But why was Friday considered the unlucky day of the week?  It is a legend from the time when Scandinavian and Germanic people were converting to Christianity.  Friday was named for the goddess Frigga and sacred to her.  As Christianity swept over the area, Frigga and her worshipers were branded as witches.  Legend had it that the vengeful goddess met with 11 followers and the devil on a mountain top to discuss their evil doings for the week.  13 at the gathering made it especially unlucky.  In Scandinavia, Friday was referred to as Witches Sabbath for many years.

Another historical event added to the Friday the 13th legend.  In 1307, the king of France moved against the powerful Knights Templar.  In a sweeping move, the king had hundreds of Templars arrested and burned on charges of heresy.  The bold move effectively broke the strength of the Templars.  And when did these arrests take place?  Black Friday-  October 13, 1307.  

So be careful of lightning and falling objects today, dear readers, and lay low until Saturday.


Sources available on request