Several times per year, the 13th of the month falls on a Friday. When this happens, you’ll find more people than you realize running for cover. Some people prefer to spend the day holed up in bed, or at the office, going out as little as possible and avoiding contact with others, important tasks and operating heavy machinery. Others might spend the day nervously going through their routine, occasionally blaming a spilt coffee or stubbed toe on ‘bad luck’. Some people bring little luck and warding charms in attempts to try to ward off any negative influences of the day.
Friday the 13th has long been associated with bad luck, why is this? And is it really something we need to be careful of?
# KNIGHTS TEMPLAR MYTH
There is a popular myth that the Friday the 13th is unlucky because in the 14th century the Knights Templar were massacred on a Friday, the 13th of October. The facts are, there is no record of a mass slaughter– there is only record of an order going out that day to arrest the Knights. They were detained, and questioned. But they were not killed on or near that day in a big battle as legend holds it.
Astrologically, there’s nothing particular about Fridays or the 13th of the month that indicates across-the-board bad luck.
Further, there is no real evidence that the day was considered unlucky in the 14th through 18th century. In fact, the fear of Friday the 13th did not come about until the 19th century.
# THE NUMBER 13
The number 13 has long been considered unlucky in general. There were 13 present at the Last Supper. There are 13 full moons in a year, considered unlucky for a couple of reasons. First, because full moons were considered a time when curses kicked in and witches came out. 13 was associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle (women have 13 cycles per year), which was considered a curse. Having 13 full moons conflicted with the 12 months of the year, which caused a scheduling problem on the calender for the monks that used to arrange the church events. Zoroastrians believed that it was the 13th day of the month that evil came out.
Friday is also a day with a long history of being associated with bad luck. It’s the day that Bible scholars believe Jesus was crucified. Since Jews and Muslims worship Friday nights, Christians– who worshipped on Sunday– considered it blasphemous.
Aside from religion, pop culture gave Friday a bad name. Chaucer’s popular work, The Canturbury Tales, perpetuated the notion that Friday was an unlucky travel day. Many people considered Friday a bad day to begin new things (considering it was so close to the end of the work week and one was not supposed to work on Sundays, that’s understandable).
# AN INEVITABLE COMBINATION
In Victorian times, the fear of Friday and the fear of the number 13 started to make people see Friday the 13ths as a double-whammy day for bad luck. The superstition reached its height in the latter part of the 20th century, though, thanks to horror movies and fiction that played on the fears.
# DO WE NEED TO BE AFRAID OF FRIDAY THE 13TH?
Astrologically, there’s nothing particular about Fridays or the 13th of the month that indicates across-the-board bad luck. Friday is associated with the planet Venus, which associates it with pleasant things like love, friendship, art and even a little indulgence (as in, TGIF!). Numerologically, the number doesn’t have any particularly ominous meanings. It is associated with endings and transitions, which include death but is not only associated with tragedies. After all, the ending of a difficult cycle in life is usually a welcome thing.
Studies do note that the occurrence of accidents tends to go up on this day, but many authorities believe that this is the result of excessive anxiety rather than the day itself. So when Friday the 13th rolls around, try to take it in stride. If you don’t let yourself get nervous about it, you’ll probably sail through it without any problems.
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