Today is Friday the 13th, which is considered to be unlucky. If you’re superstitious, you might find this to be true for you but do you actually know why this day is labeled as such? Probably not so we’re here to give you some background on how Fridays and the number 13 became feared concepts.
According to Vox, 13 being an unlucky number can date back to 700 BC in ancient Greece. A poet named Hedios wrote a farmer’s almanac entitled Works and Days. In it he wrote, “Avoid the thirteenth of the waxing month for beginning to sow.” He didn’t explain why but it might have been enough for people to avoid the number 13.
Thirteen can also be associated with Judas who was the 13th guest at the Last Supper and Loki from Norse myth who invaded a Valhalla and caused utter chaos. He was also the 13th guest.
Because of these stories from different cultures and religions, people of the present are superstitious about the number 13. I mean, almost all buildings don’t have a 13th floor so that says a lot about this superstition.
Now, moving on to unlucky Fridays. According to BBC, they found some explanations to it through Steve Roud, who wrote The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland. He said, “Because Friday was the day of the crucifixion, Fridays were always regarded as a day of penance and abstinence. This religious belief spilled over into general dislike or starting anything—or doing anything important—on a Friday.” There are also superstitions that accidents happen on Good Friday, which is why people are discouraged from traveling during this time.
Over the years, there have also been horrific events that fall on Friday the 13th. These are obviously coincidental but these probably strengthened people’s belief in its being tainted.
Last year, The Seattle Times put together a list of some of the events. On Jan. 13, 2012 the largest passenger-ship wreck occurred with more than 30 people dying on the Costa Concordia. Another event took place on Jan. 13, 1989, which is called the “Friday the 13th virus.” It is described as “a widespread computer crash that infected infected hundreds of IBM computers in England.” The “Black Friday” fires in Australia also took place on Friday the 13th and 36 people were killed in Victoria Province.
Despite these anecdotes, however, Vox points out that fear of Friday the 13th was manufactured in the 20th century. “The 19th century, as we’ve seen, was full of references to the number 13 being unlucky. But it took the 20th century to bring us the magic of Friday the 13th.”
Unlucky or not, we think it would be better to keep a positive outlook today. Clear your head of any superstitions you might have and enjoy this Friday. Reward yourself for getting through this work week and treat yourself to a nice dinner and drinks. Feel like going out? Surround yourself with your bestest friends today. If you’re having a tough time getting through the rest of the day just take a quick breather and give yourself time. Happy Friday, everyone!
Art by Yayie Motos
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