Friday, November 13, 2009

The Real Friday the 13th - Are you Paraskevidekatriaphobic?

I have read that Friday the 13th was deemed unlucky by the church because Friday is the Goddess Freya's (Goddess of love) sacred day and there are 13 full moons in a year. The full moon was sacred to the pagans. So ... on Friday the 13th it was customary to stay home from work and celebrate the way that Freya would've wanted you to - by makin' love all day long. Sounds like fun to me.

The following was taken from articles I read on the web. Very interesting stuff.

Interesting facts about Friday the 13th (from several articles on the web):

*The ill-fated Apollo 13 Moon mission boldly took this in their stride when the mission was launched at 13:13 hours Houston time, from pad 39 (13x3) and had to be aborted on April 13, 1970. Apollo, you might remember, is the name of the ancient Græco-Roman Sun god, so in this light, the number 13 was sure to be more than a little problematic...

*LEGEND HAS IT: Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams. Don't start a trip on Friday or you will have misfortune. If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow. Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck – as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday ... One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell once and for all the widespread superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned, named "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday, and was never seen or heard from again.

*Friday was actually considered quite lucky by pre-Christian Teutonic peoples, we are told — especially as a day to get married — because of its traditional association with love and fertility. All that changed when Christianity came along. The goddess of the sixth day — most likely Freya in this context, given that the cat was her sacred animal — was recast in post-pagan folklore as a witch, and her day became associated with evil doings.

*Various legends developed in that vein, but one is of particular interest: As the story goes, the witches of the north used to observe their sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, Freya herself, came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group, who numbered only 12 at the time, and gave them one of her cats, after which the witches' coven — and, by "tradition," every properly-formed coven since — comprised exactly 13.

*LEGEND HAS IT: If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894). Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don't have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names). There are 13 witches in a coven.
*The pagan Scandinavian belief that the number thirteen signified bad luck sprang from the idea that their twelve gods were joined by a thirteenth, Loki, a cruel god, who brought misfortune to all.

*Venus was the holy goddess of love in the Roman World and Freya was the most holy primeval goddess of the north. Christian monks decided that her day, Friday, was unlucky, as indeed it was, for Jesus Christ, who was crucified and died on a Friday. The Christian religion has sought to overthrow the goddess in all her forms, but has simply succeeded in causing her to reinvent herself under other names.

According to Wikipedia:
Friday the 13th occurs when the thirteenth day of a month falls on Friday, which superstition holds to be a day of good or bad luck. In the Gregorian calendar, this day occurs at least once, but at most three times a year. Any month's 13th day will fall on a Friday if the month starts on a Sunday. In 2009 this applies to the months of February, March, and November. The next instance of this appears on the calendar for the year 2015.[1]The following article was written by Slade Kepler.

Origins of Friday the 13th
ByPublished: Thursday, November 12, 2009
Updated: Thursday, November 12, 2009

Greg Beresford, senior General Education major "I have no superstitions because I was born on Friday the 13th, but I’ve never experienced any unnatural bad luck from it. I’ve never seen anything that makes me think the Friday the 13th superstition is true."

Ashley Geise, junior Photojournalism major "I guess I do have superstitions. I like to think a wish will come true if I make it at 11:11. The Friday the 13th superstition is scary, so I don’t like to think about it usually."

Andrea Hargis, sophomore Dietetics major "I believe in a lot of superstitions, like breaking a mirror gets you seven years of bad luck and don’t cross a black cat’s path. These superstitions had to come from somewhere; something had to happen to make people believe it. I believe in the Friday the 13th superstition because of all the hype about it in the movies and because there’s a history of a lot of bad things that have happened on Friday the 13th."
For the quixotic, there is no single day of the year more terrifying than Friday the 13th. As the popular superstition goes, bad luck is sure to befall a person on this day. Sometimes, in more extreme cases, it even ends in the death of that person or a loved one. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, up to 21 million people in the United States today suffer from a morbid and irrational fear of Friday the 13th. What’s more, each year contains at least one Friday the 13th, and for paraskevidekatriaphobics (people intensely afraid of Friday the 13th), 2009 was an especially dreadful year, sporting three: one in February, March, and November.The Friday the 13th superstition is thought to have originated from the Knights Templar, a military order established in 1118 to defend the Christian city of Jerusalem. After the First Crusade and the capture of Jerusalem from the Muslims, protection of Jerusalem and the outlying Kingdom of Outremer was left to the knights. When the city was recaptured by Saladin’s Muslim forces in 1187 and all subsequent attempts by Christian Crusades to retake the city failed, the Knights Templar found themselves out of work. However, they had become extremely wealthy and powerful from their military conquests, and they never disbanded their organization or changed the clandestine ways their meetings were held. Their power and secrecy attracted the attention and distrust of King Philip IV of France. On Friday, October 13, 1307, the king sent out an order to arrest all the Knights Templar in France, accusing them of blasphemy and witchcraft. Many were burned alive, including the group’s Grand Master, Jacques de Molay.“On Friday the 13th of October 1307, the Templar Knights who were in France at the time found the soldiers of the king knocking on their doors,” said Alan Butler, co-author of The Warriors and the Bankers, a book about the Templars. “Jacque de Molay confessed pretty much right away, but he was almost certainly tortured.”
It may be surprising to most people that the Friday the 13th superstition is a relatively new one, originating in the early 20th century. Before its relatively recent rise in popularity, the original 13 superstition, now all but forgotten, was that if 13 people sit together at a table, one will die within a year. This version has been documented as far back as late 17th century Europe in the memoirs of John Wilmot, the earl of Rochester. Many variations on this superstition abound, including that if the 13 sit together, the first to rise from the table will die, the group can avert death by joining hands and rising as one, and if someone sneezes, the oldest or youngest will die within a year.The reason the 13 at a table superstition gradually lost popularity is that unlike most superstitions, it is testable. If someone does not die during the year, the superstition can quickly be proven false. The 13 at a table superstition is generally thought to have originated from the Last Supper, where Jesus and his 12 disciples sat down for one last Passover meal, and Judas, one of the 13, betrayed Jesus to his death.“At the time, everyone knew the origin of the superstition, and it was the 12 plus one of Christ and the disciples at the Last Supper,” said Nathaniel Lachenmeyer, author of 13: The Story of the World’s Most Notorious Superstition. “It’s only in the centuries since that there’s been confusion and alternative theories that have come up.”Before even this superstition however, ancient cultures considered the number 13 by itself to be unlucky. Evidence has been found that 13 was unlucky for Native Americans, Mayans, Ancient Egyptians, and even Neanderthals. Today, we carry on this tradition by omitting the 13th floor from most skyscrapers and the 13th row from many airplanes. Friday has also long been considered an unlucky day, with Jesus’ crucifixion and death taking place on Good Friday. In the past, many public executions were only carried out on Fridays, making the day seem drearier and more dreadful. Separately, both 13 and Friday seem to constitute extreme unluckiness, so it was only a matter of time until they were put together to form the most powerful superstition of our age.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I love the story about Freya ;)

  2. Annnd I just realized I have 13 letters in my name.

    Caroline Moore

    From now on I think I'll be more eager to embrace my middle initial...