Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday the 13th Trivia

Today is Friday the 13th, a day believed by many to be rife with bad luck and evil tidings.

If you're one of those believers, brace yourself. There are two more Friday the 13ths coming this year.
The year 2015 will have three Friday the 13ths – in February, March and November. So, just how unusual is this?

“Whenever a common year of 365 days starts on a Thursday,” reports, “it’s inevitable that the months of February, March and November will start on a Sunday. And any month starting on a Sunday always has a Friday the 13th.”

... The year 2009 was the first trilogy of the new century. The next will be in 2026, and again in 2037 and so on for 11 more times during the 21st century...

...The fear of Friday the 13th, incidentally, is termed paraskevidekatriaphobia...

Many paraskevidekatriaphobics like to point out any and all tragedies associated with the date or number (including the fate of Apollo 13). On Oct. 13, 1972, a plane crashed in the Andes, and survivors were forced into cannibalism (immortalized in the film “Alive”). On Nov. 13, 1970, a cyclone and subsequent floods in Bangladesh killed as many as a million people. On Aug. 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley hit Florida. The 1989 stock market crash occurred on Friday, Oct. 13. On Jan. 13, 2012, the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized and sank off the cost of Tuscany, killing 32.

Some notorious people have been born on Friday the 13th as well, including director/producer Alfred Hitchcock, former Cuban President Fidel Castro, and (perhaps unsurprisingly) Klu Klux Klan Founder and Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford.
Why is Friday the 13th considered unlucky? One explanation dates back to the days of the Vikings.
Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, the god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party anyway, bringing the total number of attendees to 13. True to character, Loki incited Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved. And although one might take the moral of this story to be "Beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe," the Norse themselves apparently concluded that 13 people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.

As if to prove the point, the Bible tells us there were exactly 13 present at the Last Supper. One of the dinner guests — er, disciples — betrayed Jesus Christ, setting the stage for the Crucifixion.
Oh, and BTW, the Crucifixion took place on a Friday.

Other Friday the 13th superstitions:
  • If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year...
  • If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck (e.g., Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names).
  • Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams.
  • If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow.
  • Don't start a trip on Friday or you will encounter misfortune.
  • Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck, as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday. One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell the longstanding superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned and given the name "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday, and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. Finally, it was on a Friday that H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage — and was never seen or heard from again.
Some say Friday's bad reputation goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. Adam bit, as we all learned in Sunday School, and they were both ejected from Paradise. Tradition also holds that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday; and, of course, Friday was the day of the week on which Christ was crucified. It is therefore a day of penance for Christians.

In pagan Rome, Friday was execution day (later Hangman's Day in Britain)...
Meanwhile, back at the Vikings:
The name "Friday" was derived from a Norse deity worshiped on the sixth day, known either as Frigg (goddess of marriage and fertility), or Freya (goddess of sex and fertility), or both, the two figures having become intertwined in the handing down of myths over time (the etymology of "Friday" has been given both ways). Frigg/Freya corresponded to Venus, the goddess of love of the Romans, who named the sixth day of the week in her honor "dies Veneris."
So if I've got this right, Friday the 13th is unlucky because it is derived from three different goddesses of sex and love. Based on my track record with the opposite sex, that theory makes a lot of sense...


Old NFO said...

LOL, agree with that last sentence!!! :-)

CenTexTim said...

It does explain a lot of things, doesn't it... :-)