May 13, 2013 – If you believe bad luck will find you today on this Friday the 13th, you’re not alone. It’s a widespread superstition.
But did you know that fear of the number 13, known as triskaidekaphobia, is common, even when not associated with a day of the week? The same is true for any Friday, which is considered an unlucky day in its own right. Whoever paired these two bad luck symbols together to create one huge slice of superstition is downright cruel.
The earliest reference as to why 13 is an unlucky number dates back to 1780 BC, where the 13th law of the Babylonian Code dictated what to do with a person’s property after they died. Years later, early Christians believed unlucky 13 had to do with the Last Supper. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, and the last to arrive, was the 13th guest to sit at the table. Another odd theory is that a hangman’s noose requires 13 turns of the rope to complete. Any less, it is said, would not break the neck.
It’s a mystery why Fridays get a bad rap. As the last day of the workweek, it is high on my favorite list, but some sources claim it is unlucky because it was the day that Eve gave Adam the apple. Further research points out that this theory cannot be true considering the apple was a second-century discovery and Fridays didn’t exist in the Garden of Eden. On the other hand, Fridays have always been unlucky in maritime circles, as sailors warn never to begin a voyage on Friday. Then there is a Chaucer reference in The Canterbury Tales that stated it was bad luck to start a journey or a project on a Friday, although, in both instances, it is not stated why.
The real question is why people believe in superstitions in the first place. People do not want to believe they are in control because it scares them, and believing in superstitions makes them feel more in control. Ironic, isn’t it?
I never considered myself superstitious, but as I write this, I glance over at the jar of magic I keep on my desk and grin. It used to sit next to a voodoo doll and desk size Zen rock garden. The jar of magic outlasted them all, so I suppose there is there is a wee bit of mystical superstition in me, after all.
Still, there is zero evidence to prove the number 13, Friday, Friday the 13th or any other superstition is unlucky, so maybe that fact can help you through your day. There’s also zero evidence to prove my jar of magic is lucky. If that’s not enough to break your superstition habit, let’s be thankful that this one is the only Friday the 13th that falls this year.