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Friday the 13th

Posted by R. Berg on June 13, 2003

In Reply to: Friday the 13th posted by ESC on June 13, 2003

: Friday the 13th: ".Such a big deal that nearly $1 billion worth of commerce won't happen, because people are afraid to fly, travel, and shop.It combines Friday--considered an unlucky day by some--with the number 13, which has long been considered bad news.

: " Eve is rumored to have given Adam the apple on a Friday, according to Donald Dossey, founder-director of the Phobia Center in Asheville, North Carolina."

: "Tradition also has it that the Flood in the Bible, the confusion at the Tower of Babel, and the death of Jesus Christ all took place on Friday." ("How Did it Begin?" by R. Brasch (Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1969).

: Another source says, ".The modern basis for the Friday the 13th superstition stems from Friday October the 13th, 1307. On this date, the Pope of the church in Rome in Conjunction with the King of France, carried out a secret death warrant against 'the Knights Templar.' The Templars were terminated as heretics, never again to hold the power that they had held for so long. Their Grand Master, Jacques DeMolay, was arrested and before he was killed, was tortured and crucified. A Black Friday indeed!

: Long before the Bible was written, Friday was considered an important day. Primitive people set aside Fridays as a special time to worship their deities and ask them for good crops, health and happiness. Those who worked on this day were told not to expect 'good luck' from the gods...

: The day Friday was named after Frigg (or Frigga), the Norse goddess of marriage. Later she was confused with the goddess of love, Freya, who in turn became identified with Friday. When the Norsemen and Germanic tribes became Christians, Freya was supposed to have been banished to the mountains as a witch.

: Friday came to be called 'witches' Sabbath.' For it was believed that on this day, each week, twelve witches and the Devil met - thirteen evil spirits up to no good! This is one of the reasons for today's superstition about Friday the 13th." lp/Superstition/friday_13th.htm Accessed June 12, 2003.

: "And the number 13 has been feared for a long time, too--except in Italy, where 'Fare tredici!' or 'To make thirteen!' is the slogan of the national lottery. There, if you get a thirteen, you win. About 90 percent of Otis elevators don't have a button for the 13th floor. The U.S. Navy won't launch a ship on Friday the 13th. And, as a former flight attendant once told me, many people just won't fly on the 13th, unless they're headed to Las Vegas. Apparently, the unluckiest day has an opposite effect when you're gambling."

: Note: "How Did it Begin," published in 1969, said that "Italian lotteries never use the number ." So there must have been a change of heart at some time.

: "The superstition of the unlucky 13 is widely spread all over the world.That 13 is unlucky, and especially so at table, is a superstition which also goes back to pre-Christian days. Fear of the figure 13 is found in Norse mythology. It stems from the fable about a banquet held in Valhalla, to which 12 gods had been invited. But Loki, the spirit of strife and evil, gate-crashed, making the number 13 and as a result Balder, the favourite of the gods, was killed.

: At Christ's Last Supper there were, apart from Jesus Himself, His 12 Apostles and, therefore, a company of 13 altogether. As this supper preceded Christ's crucifixion, it certainly was taken as an omen of misfortune and death. There is a less superstitious and more rational explanation which says that statistical surveys showed insurance companies that of any group of 13 one person would die within less than 12 months." ("How Did it Begin?")
That last bit doesn't sound so rational. The death rate per year isn't that high.