The Superstition of Friday the 13th–Sorting Out Fact From Fear

The belief in supernatural forces is strong in humans. Not content to simply live their lives, they seek meaning in everything around them, be it animal, vegetable or mineral, somebody somewhere has formed an opinion about it. And sometimes, these opinions grow into a societal belief, even to the point of the majority attempting to force their thought process onto the nonconformists.

Since Friday the 13th is coming up I thought it might be interesting to share facts about that number, day, and how the belief in its lack of good luck came into being. We can examine the facts from the standpoints of numerology, lore, or any event which may have happened that day to see if there’s a significance.

First, from a numerological standpoint. The number 13 is a prime number which has two numbers, 1 and 3, and which can be added together to obtain the number 4. 1 is a number of beginnings, whereas 3 suggests companionship or interaction.

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4 has to do with order and balance, so the “story” the number 13 tells basically says “now is the beginning of balanced companionship.” However, traditionally the number itself is indicative of great change, upheaval and destructive force. This is because the balancing effect of a 4 has been “unevenly divided” to create the number.

The symbolism of 13 is deeply rooted in legends as well. Many cultures believe the number is evil in nature and will bring bad luck. The belief is so strong that many hotels, apartments, and businesses do not have a 13th floor. There are a few religious reasons cited for cultural dislike of 13, most notably the fact that Judas, the 13th disciple, was the betrayer of the Christ. However, there are some cultures who think 13 is good luck, including Egyptian and Chinese people, who see 13 as the symbol for the eternal afterlife. Modern day pagans still consider 13 to be a powerful, karmic number that is useful in ritual and spell work.

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There’s a lot to be said about Friday as well. This day is considered the 5th if one begins the week on Monday, or the 6th if they begin their count on Sunday. Neither of these numbers sheds much light, with 5 bringing expansion and 6 reducing selfishness. However, Friday has plenty of religious significance and well as secular importance. It is strongly connected with love and relationships in many traditions. It derives its name from the goddess Frigg, and is also associated to the Roman goddess Venus as well as their counterparts in other cultures. Good Friday is three days before Easter. Black Friday was named for the day the Stock Market crashed and stockbrokers started jumping out their windows all over the country. In folklore Friday is considered a bad day to begin a journey because it’s unlucky. This belief is especially prevalent among fishermen.

The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th itself stems from people erroneously attributing instances of bad luck to the particular day they fear, rather than on real life itself. People have been known to avoid doing business on Fridays, especially those wherein large amounts of money exchanges hands. People seem to have an unreasonable fear of the day’s inherent bad luck, and even education doesn’t seem to help curb this belief for them. For the most part, bad history not withstanding, Friday the 13th is just another day that’s been given a bad rap. All in all, it certainly doesn’t hurt to be cautious on this or an other holiday, but keep in mind that a little caution never hurts.

Do you think Friday the 13th had any kind of influence on the upcoming solar storm? Wouldn’t that be an interesting twist…?