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Friday the 13th

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

A day everybody should be afraid of

There is a unique relation between humanity and time. Time’s flow determines our daily life, recalls the past, happens in the present, and plans our future. All humans are aware of time as it defines the transition from day to night and forms a constant repetition. Therefore, it is considered to be a recurring constant with both positive and negative characteristics and properties. Friday the 13th, gathers all the negative impact and creates a sense of a “bad moment” that makes all western people worry. What is the unique element of that day and how can sensibility contribute to this superstition?

Friday’s Misfortune

Events like Eva handing the apple to Adam, the Genesis Flood Narrative, Babel’s Confusion of tongues and Jesus Crucifixion turned Friday to be an “unfortunate” day. In the 14th century’s renowned Canterbury Tales, Caucher characterizes Friday as a day that all the bad events can occur. Practically, Friday is considered to be an unlucky day since the second half of the 17th century and that ceremonies like baptism, marriage, the opening of a new business, a ship launching, or a trip should not be planned during that day. On the other hand, for Germans and Scottish, Friday is the perfect day for coupling. In many places, the fifth day of the week was also the day when the renowned Sabbath took place (witch gatherings). In the United States of America and England, Friday was the day of the death row inmates’ executions. For that reason, it is usually referred to as the “Day of the Hanged”. Hungarians have a tradition that when a baby borns on a Friday, their parents need to spill a few drops of the newborns blood on a piece of the fabric and then burn it to make the bad luck go away. If someone dreams of an event on the night of Good Friday, it will most likely happen. This of course, is good news if the dream is positive and pleasant. 

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Magic Number 13

Respectively to Friday, number 13 with its paradoxical symbols terrifies a lot of people too. If number 12 symbolizes the wholeness, the natural order, and harmony (12 astrological signs), then number 13 represents the segmentation of this perfect circle that leads to asymmetry and chaos. It is not a coincidence, that during the Last Supper Judas Iscariot was the 13th guest! For that reason during a dinner party, lords would invite up to 12 guests! During these dinners, there was the mischief that if a guest got up first from the table, they would die within the next year… Due to this negative – at least for Christians – interpretation of number 13, the date was always linked to black magic and satanism. The western world had developed such a dislike that the number is being avoided as much as possible from public records and neighborhood addresses! But how was Friday linked to number 13?

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Seeking for a few “misfortunate” events

It is almost certain that ordinary people combined the two moments together. For some weird reason, superstitions were always connected and linked to each other. There are a lot of people who question this phenomenon and seek for historical events which justify the dark character of Friday the13th. Although, this is extremely difficult as no-one is certain about the chronological moment that Friday13th started to be considered as an unfortunate date. In 1913, an American priest, offered to marry, free of charge, any couple who wished to perform the ceremony on that day. He wanted to prove that all theories are the outcome of a mere superstition. What can this incident reveal about the feelings of fear which surround the specific date? The most reliable source that Friday 13 is an unlucky day is due to the arrest of the Knight Order, which occurred on Friday 13, October 1307. The persecution of the order by the soldiers of King Philip, scared the knights and made them spread and hide to various places across Europe. The date of the event is also stated in a script by an anonymous poet. 

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