Happy Friday the 13th everyone. Universally known as one of the unluckiest days of the year, fear of Friday the 13th (also known as Friggatriskaidekaphobia) is one of the more commonly developed phobias across the globe. But why? Why do we get nervous when we look at the calendar and see that the thirteenth day of the month happens to fall on a Friday?
Well, I did a little research on the subject a few year back and found that there's no real origin to the superstition. No evil witch cast a curse, no demon claimed it as a dark holy day. However, there is historical evidence for the fear of both Friday and the number thirteen.
For example, early Christian traditions feed our fear of Fridays, as it is generally understood that Jesus was crucified on a Friday (thus the celebration of Good Friday). Sailors believed it was unlucky to begin a voyage on Fridays. And in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, he states "And on Friday fell all this mischance", thus giving literary precedence to the fear.
Similarly, many early traditions suggest an inherent darkness surrounding the number thirteen. Like the thirteen members of the last supper (Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles). Or Norse mythology, which states that there were twelve gods having a dinner party in Valhalla when Loki stormed in (making him the thirteenth member) and caused the death of Balder, the god of light and joy. There is even some evidence that the dinner party happened on a Friday . . .
Of course many people believe that the fear originates from French King Philip IV's massacre of the Knights Templar on October 13, 1307, but there is little evidence that this is anything other than a modern day invention. And yet, it remains a bit creepy nonetheless.
So while both Friday and the number thirteen are both considered unlucky, there's little evidence of the two overlapping until the 19th century. So what then feeds our irrational fear of Friday the 13th? I blame the film industry. Those creepy Jason movies sure did feed into our preconceived superstitions.
Well regardless of the origin, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for mischief and mayhem. As Mad Eye Moody always says . . . constant vigilance, my friends. Constant vigilance.