Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th. I always feel weird about this day at any time of the year other than fall. It makes sense in fall. It makes me feel all Halloweeny.

Halloween. My favorite holiday. I have black cat, pumpkins, a skull, a witchy teddy bear, a gothic fairy, and a gothic doll all on display on my shelf at work. These are my year round decorations and not the actual Halloween décor I put up at the end of September.

I am the Halloween girl. I even have a tattoo of a black cat cuddling with a Jack O’ Lantern on my shoulder. When my parents took me to Hawaii, I even managed to find a lovely black sarong with white and pale blue hibiscus on it.

Now a rather bizarre study was done on automobile accidents on Friday the 6th compared to Friday the 13th. They found that fewer people were driving at all on Friday the 13th. People seemed to want to avoid driving. At the same time, more people were admitted to the hospital due to vehicular accidents than on a ‘normal’ Friday. I’m willing to guess it is more a case of people expecting bad things to happen, who start to watch for them and are less careful because of the distraction. This is in the nature of a ‘self fulfilling prophesy’.

What I didn’t know is that this is actually the MOST widespread superstition and 8% of Americans suffer from varying degrees of paraskevidekatriaphobia. Lovely word that. 8% sounds low but actually represents about 21 million people.

13 is sometimes called the Devil’s Dozen. Which is kind of weird to me. It’s also a baker’s dozen. There was some story about why bakers would toss in an extra if you ordered a dozen, but I don’t remember the story any more.

The silliest reason for the origin of fear of the number 13 is the fact the people could only count to 12 and therefore 13 was a mystery. They get this 12 idea from having 10 fingers and two feet. Apparently, toes wouldn’t count. See, silly.

It seems 13 fluctuates between lucky and unlucky at different time in different places. I’m not sure if there is any value in trying to pinpoint where fear of 13 originated. And I’m a big fan of archaeology and anthropology, so that’s saying something. What I’m not sure.

More of the unlucky 13 bits and pieces seem to be after the rise of male dominated and/or solar dominated religions. The theory is that it evolved to vilify or demonize the lunar and or female orientated religious.

There also seems to be a rather strong hatred of Friday’s in the past. This is weird as these day, we live for our Fridays. Once the end of work bell rings, we have 2.5 days to ourselves. Well, those of us with regular day jobs do.

Apparently, everything bad that happened in the Bible happened on a Friday. I want to know how “they” know that. How in the world can they know that the whole business with the apple and the snake happened on a Friday? How could anyone possibly know that the “Flood” started on a Friday?

And since many pre-Christian societies thought Friday was an auspicious day to get married, Fridays must be bad and the Friday goddess (Freya/Frigg/Venus) was recast as a witch. Wow. Can I get a copy of the Venus Di Milo with a witches hat on her head, a broom clutched in one hand, and a black cat sitting on the clam shelf at her feet?

On the whole, I like superstitions and find them a fascinating subject. Some even have an odd sort of logic to them. But Friday the 13th as an unlucky day has always seemed the ultimate in silliness to me.

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2 Responses to “Friday the 13th”

  1. I am not superstitious but perhaps I should be:

    My dad was born on Friday the 13th and died 31 years later on Friday the 13th. My oldest brother was born on Friday the 13th and died 13 months later on Friday the 13th. My youngest brother was born on Friday the 13th and died 13 minutes after birth on Friday the 13th.

    I quit going to the cemetery when I graduated from high school because the dates on the headstones just look too weird.

    It is what it is.

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