No one really knows where the origins of Friday the 13th came from. What is known, however, is that superstition, myth and fear surround the day unlike any other day on the calendar.
Today is Friday the 13th. Yes, it has come around once again to paralyze millions with fear and trepidation. According to some recent research done at the North Carolina Stress Management Center, somewhere between 17 and 21 million people suffer from a terrible fear of Friday the 13th. For those who wonder, the fear of Friday the 13th is known as Friggatriskaidekaphobia. It combines the fear of the number 13 and the name of the Norse Goddess Frigga for whom the day of the week was named.
Friday the 13th always makes an appearance at least once in any given Georgian calendar year and can show up as many as three times in a year, according to The International Business Tribune. No one is all quite certain as to how this day became associated with fear and bad luck. Apparently, according to several sources, the day isn’t even rated a mention until the 19th Century.
The number 13 has always been ostracized for some unknown reason down through human history. Even the legendary Hammurabi’s Code jumps from rule 12 to rule 14. One could not even begin to count the number of hotels and office buildings in the world that have no actual 13th floor. Get in the elevator and the buttons just go from 12 to 14.
Early Catholic Christianity had an iron grip on Europe during the Medieval period as it began to seriously consolidate its hold and power on the people of Europe. Once they revealed the story that Jesus was killed by the Romans on a Friday, the day itself just became something to fear. From that time forward, the human psyche considers Friday to be a most unlucky of days.
Of course, there is the superstition that if 13 people eat together, one of them will die soon. This comes from Norse mythology where the king of the gods, Odin, was having dinner with 11 of his lesser gods when an uninvited guest, Loki, showed up. Loki was the Norse god of turmoil and chaos.
One rather obscure origin tale comes from October 13, 1307. On this Friday the 13th, dozens of the Knights Templar, including their spiritual leader Jacques DeMolay, were murdered by being burned at the stake by the then king of France, Phillip the Fair. Seems Phillip owed them a great deal of money and thought murder preferable to paying back the debt. He was the king, after all. Hundreds of Templars escaped his wrath, however, and took several boatloads of treasure and secrets with them. Legend has it that they ended up in Scotland and another group fled to a small mountainous region in central Europe. They settled there, took over the place, and named their new region Switzerland. Many historians, and others, believe this to be the truth with one reason being the Swiss flag is the only flag that is square and the colors are the reverse of the Templars red cross worn on a field of white.
So, some facts and superstitions about Friday the 13th:
- There are fewer vehicle accidents reported on Friday the 13th than on any other Friday of the year.
- Emergency room visits skyrocket over 52 percent on Friday the 13th.
- Almost $1 billion in revenue is lost by American retailers on Friday the 13th because people would rather stay home than venture out to shop.
- If you get a haircut on Friday the 13th, a family member is sure to die soon.
- If a funeral procession goes by you, you’re next…
- Never travel on a Friday the 13th. The trip will only end in disaster and misfortune.
- Break a mirror on Friday the 13th and you are sure to have bad luck for the next seven years.
- Anyone who was born on a Friday the 13th will live an extremely unlucky and tragic life.
- Ships that set out on a voyage on Friday the 13th will likely sink.
- And, of course, never walk under a ladder or have a black cat cross your path on a Friday the 13th. It will only make for a bad day.