where it all started: (thanks Wikipedia)
“According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century. The earliest known documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards‘ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini:
Rossini was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; Why Friday the 13th Is Unlucky
Consequently, several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.
- In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, twelve gods of Olympus, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
- Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s. It has also been suggested that Friday has been considered an unlucky day because, according to Christian scripture and tradition, Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
A theory by author Charles Panati, one of the leading authorities on the subject of “Origins” maintains that the superstition can be traced back to ancient myth:
The actual origin of the superstition, though, appears also to be a tale in Norse mythology. Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil — a gathering of thirteen — and plotted ill turns of fate for the coming week. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as “Witches’ Sabbath.”
Another theory about the origin of the superstition traces the event to the arrest of the legendary Knights Templar.
The Knights Templar were a monastic military order founded in Jerusalem in 1118 C.E. Their original mission was to guide and protect Christian pilgrims along the path from Europe to Jerusalem during the Crusades. Through this mission, the Templars developed a banking system to protect the finances of the traveling pilgrims, then expanded this system throughout their holdings in Europe. Over time, France’s Philip IV of France amassed a debt to the Knights Templar for years of service. He had nearly depleted his money due to his ongoing battles with England. King Phillip became envious of the Knights Templar and their rise to power, so he set his sights on their famed fortunes. Philip devised a plan to arrest all the Knights Templar and charge them with crimes so devastating that no person or group would come to their defense. The charges against them were religious in nature and backed by the papacy of the Vatican and Pope Clement V. His plan had to be swift and carefully put together so as to not alert the Templars in advance.
In Spanish-speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th is considered a day of bad luck, commonly referred to as ‘Martes y trece’ (Literally translates to: Tuesday and thirteen). The Fall of Constantinople, when the city fell to the Ottomans, marks the end of the Byzantine Empire. It happened on Tuesday, May 29, 1453. That is why the Greeks also consider Tuesday to be an unlucky day.”
let’s hope we’re luckier than those guys, thank heaven we only have one Friday the 13th this year!