Feeling Lucky? History of Friday the 13th
Is the number 13 or Friday the 13th lucky or unlucky? Maybe both!!!
Here are a few things you may not know about the number 13 –
- Many hospitals have no room 13,
- Some airline terminals do not have a Gate 13.
- 80% of high rises do not have a 13th floor.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal.
- Consider Apollo 13. It was launched at 13:13 on April 11, 1970. The explosion that destroyed the craft took place on April 13.
- Is 13 considered lucky…by some yes, including Taylor Swift…. She was born on the 13th. She turned 13 on Friday the 13th. Her first album went gold in 13 weeks.
So how did the superstition of Friday the 13th bringing bad luck begin? Interesting that there is no specific event or circumstance as to how or when it started. Many intriguing theories have been put forth, here are just a few.
One theory is related to religion. The seating at the Last Supper is believed to have triggered the Christian superstition as there were 13 seated at the table. The last to arrive and the 13th person believed to be seated was Judas. Today, in many cultures it is unlucky to have 13 people seated at a dinner table, and some add a 14th seat to make the number of guests 14.
A second theory floated is that back on Friday the 13th, October in 1307, King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar. Eventually many of the Templar were burned at the stake in Paris in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral. According to tradition, the events initiated by their arrest on Friday the 13th, ensured that every subsequent Friday the 13th would result in bad luck for all.
Another theory goes back even farther. The ancient ‘Code of Hammurabi’, written in the 1700s B.C., reportedly omitted a 13th law. In reality this was likely a clerical or translation error, yet some still feel it contributes to the negative significance of the number.
More theories abound, but it is still unclear how the number 13 and Friday were tied together.
We thought Friday the 13th was a universal superstition, but surprisingly, that is not the case. Here are a few examples.
- In Spanish speaking countries, Friday the 13th is just another day. In these cultures, Tuesday the 13th is considered an unlucky date. The reason, Tuesday is said to be dominated by Ares, the Greek god of war — known as Mars in Ancient Rome — who gives his name to martes which is Tuesday in Spanish.
- In Greece, for the same reason, Ares is the Greek God of war, thus Tuesday the 13th is also considered bad luck.
- In Italian culture, 17 is considered an unlucky number in general. But being closely tied to the Catholic religion, Friday was the day that Jesus died on the cross, making Friday the 17th an unlucky day. In fact, 13 is considered lucky. The expression "fare tredici" means to hit the jackpot.
Is Friday the 13th just a silly superstition, to be snuffed off as a trivial fear experienced by a few?
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