Friday the 13th Fun Facts: When To Superstitions Collide
Friday the 13th – you either believe in the superstition or you don’t. To some it conjures thoughts of bad luck and misfortune, usually tied to numerology. To others, it invokes images of a hockey-masked, machete-wielding killer.My great- and great-great- relatives believed in superstitions whole-heartedly. They were firm believers of hanging a horseshoe over a doorway the correct way (points facing up so luck and prosperity don’t drain away) and the maloika (the evil eye). While I don’t believe in such superstitions, I still find it fascinating how they originated and why people believe in them. And Friday the 13th is no different.
What's in a number?
Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th. It affects 17-21 million people in the United States. Fear of the number 13 is triskaidekaphobia.
Fear of number the 13th is traceable to Norse mythology. Twelve gods were having a dinner party in Valhalla. Suddenly Loki (thirteenth party member) shows up. (This was the obvious “jump the shark” moment.) Loki gets Hader (blind god of darkness) to shoot and kill Balder (god of joy and gladness) with a poison-tipped arrow. This results in the Earth plunging into darkness and the people of Earth morning his passing.
There are also Biblical ties to 13 being an unlucky number. Judas was the 13th guest at the Last Supper, who later betrayed Jesus.
Composer Arnold Schonberg suffered from triskaidekaphobia. He was born September 13, 1874 and died July 13, 1951. Schonberg was 76 years old (7+6=13).
80% of high rises do not have a 13th floor, while some airports do not have a 13th gate. And Room 13 often does not exist in hotels or hospitals.
In the US alone, when Friday the 13th rolls around it’s reported that there’s a $800 to $900 million because business is not conducted as usual.
Famed author of The Canterbury Tales Geoffery Chaucer noted Friday as a day of misfortune – mocking tragedy in an ironic sort of way.
1592 – Robert Greene (playwright) coined the phrase Friday face as a sorrowful expression on one’s face. From his play, Groates-Worth of Wit, Greene wrote, “The Foxe made a Friday face, counterfeiting sorrow: but concludinge that deaths stroke was vneuitable perswaded him to seeke som fit mate wherwith to match.”
1633 – William Rowley (playwright) mentions negative connotations regarding Friday in his play, A Match At Midnight: “A plague of Friday mornings! the most unfortunate day of the week.”
1907 – Thomas Lawson wrote the book, Friday the Thirteenth, where a stockbroker chooses Friday the 13th to try to crash the stock market.
1980 - ushered in the Friday the 13th franchise, widely referenced in pop culture and the day.
Are you a believer of the superstition? What’s your good luck talisman to help you through the day?