Friday the 13th
Friday 13 January 2012
It's Friday the 13th and we've consulted the online resource, Wikipedia, to find out more about this frightening but fascinating day.
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.
Consequently, several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition. One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions - that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.
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 gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams, 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.
One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.
Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became extremely common.
The connection between the Friday the 13th superstition and the Knights Templar was popularized in the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code. However, experts agree that this is a relatively recent correlation, and most likely a modern-day invention.
Although according to many Freemasons, this date corresponds with the slaughtering of the Knights Templar by the Church. Many Knights Templar also escaped their persecution by fleeing to Scotland.
The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom "Friday" is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen), or paraskevidekatriaphobia - a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (meaning "Friday"), and dekatreís (meaning "thirteen") attached to phobía (meaning "fear"). The latter word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953.
Some events are intentionally scheduled for Friday the 13th for dramatic effect. They include:
- Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album was released in the UK on Friday, February 13, 1970.
- The 13th book in A Series of Unfortunate Events was released on Friday, October 13, 2006 by Lemony Snicket, also known as novelist Daniel Handler.
- Four of the twelve films in the Friday the 13th series, including the most recent (reboot of the series), were released on a Friday the 13th.
- AdventureQuest Worlds MMORPG features special in-game events featuring Voltaire (musician) and other guests for each Friday the 13th.
Events that have been notable for being linked to the concept of Friday the 13th include:
- The renowned rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur was pronounced dead on Friday, September 13, 1996.
- The asteroid 99942 Apophis will make a close encounter with Earth, closer than the orbits of communication satellites, on Friday, April 13, 2029.
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