When it comes to poor luck, there are few superstitions as pervasive in Western society as that of Friday the 13th. Prefer crossing paths with a black cat and breaking a mirror, the notion of a day that can lug misfortune is deeply embedded -- even if faithfulness can"t quite describe why.


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There"s also a name to define the irrational dread the the date: paraskevidekatriaphobia -- a committed form that triskaidekaphobia, a are afraid of the number 13.
While Friday the 13th may feel like a rare phenomenon, ours Gregorian calendar method that the 13th of any kind of month is slightly an ext likely to autumn on a Friday than any kind of other day of the week. The is not, however, a universal superstition: In Greece and also Spanish-speaking countries, that is Tuesday the 13th that is thought about a work of negative luck, while in Italy, the is Friday the 17th that is met with fear.
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The last Supper seemed to put a curse top top the number 13: The 13th and most notorious guest come arrive, Judas Iscariot, to be the disciple who betrayed Jesus, resulting in his crucifixion. Credit: Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images
Like countless superstitions that have developed over time and across cultures, the is challenging to decide the precise origins of Friday 13th. What we carry out know, though, is the both Friday and the number 13 have actually been regarded as unlucky in certain cultures transparent history. In his publication "Extraordinary origins of daily Things," Charles Panati traces the concept of the cursed ago to norse mythology, as soon as Loki, the god the mischief, gate-crashed a banquet in Valhalla, pass the number of gods in attendance come 13. Trickery by Loki, the blind god Hodr to be tricked right into shooting his brother Balder, the god the light, joy and also goodness, v a mistletoe-tipped arrow, death him instantly.
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From Scandinavia, Panati explains, the superstition climate spread south throughout Europe, becoming well established along the Mediterranean by the start of the Christian era. That was here that the unsettling power of the numerals was cemented with the story that the critical Supper, which to be attended by Jesus Christ and his disciples on Maundy Thursday. The 13th and most notorious guest come arrive, Judas Iscariot, to be the disciple who betrayed Jesus, resulting in his crucifixion on great Friday.
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Hundreds that the Knights Templar were arrested ~ above October 13, 1307, and also many were later on executed. Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" popularized the erroneous theory this is the initial of the Friday the 13th superstition. Credit: /Hulton Archive/Getty Images
In Biblical tradition, the concept of unlucky Fridays, stretches back even additional than the crucifixion: Friday is stated to it is in the day the Adam and also Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree that Knowledge; the day Cain murdered his brother, Abel; the day the temple of Solomon was toppled; and the work Noah"s ark collection sail in the an excellent Flood.
It wasn"t till the 19th century, however, the Friday 13th ended up being synonymous v misfortune: as Steve Roud describes in "The Penguin guide to the Superstitions that Britain and Ireland," the combination of Friday and the number 13 is a victor invention. In 1907, the publishing of cutting board W. Lawson"s famous novel "Friday, the Thirteenth" recorded the creative thinking with its story of an unscrupulous broker who took advantage of the superstitions roughly the date to intentionally crash the share market.
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In the 1980s, superstition went pop through the launch of the "Friday the 13th" slasher franchise, starring hockey-masked killer Jason Voorhees. Credit: Alamy
Fast forward to the 1980s, and a hockey-masked killer by the name of Jason Voorhees in the slasher flick franchise "Friday the 13th" guarantee notoriety. Then come Dan Brown"s 2003 novel "The Da Vinci Code," which assisted popularize the incorrect claim that the superstition originated v the arrests of hundreds of members of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307.
Given the massive of doom-laden lore, you"d it is in forgiven for thinking that Friday 13th is indeed ominous. If we dig deeper, though, we additionally find proof that both Fridays and the number 13 have long been related to as a harbinger of an excellent fortune. In pagan times, because that instance, Friday was believed to have actually a unique association through the divine feminine. The an initial clue can actually be discovered in the weekday surname Friday, i m sorry is derived from Old English and means "day that Frigg." Both Queen of Asgard and also a powerful sky goddess in norse mythology, Frigg (also recognized as Frigga) was associated with love, marriage and also motherhood.
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Frigg provided protection come homes and families, kept social order, and also could weave fate together she did the clouds. She likewise possessed the arts of prophecy, and also could bestow or eliminate fertility. On the various other hand, Freyja, the goddess the love, fertility and also war v whom Frigg was often conflated, was endowed with the power to perform magic, predict the future, and determine who would dice in battles, and also was said to ride a chariot pulled by 2 black cats. These goddesses to be worshiped widely across Europe and, because of these associations, Friday was taken into consideration a lucky day for marital relationship by Norse and also Teutonic people.
The Venus that Laussel clutches a crescent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches -- a potential reference to lunar and also menstrual cycles. Credit: education Images/Universal images Group/Getty Images
The number 13, meanwhile, has actually long been related to as a portentous number by pre-Christian and also goddess-worshipping cultures for its link to the variety of lunar and menstrual cycles that happen in a calendar year. Fertility to be prized in pagan times, and artwork would often draw connections come menstruation, fertility and also the phases that the moon.
Take the Venus that Laussel, an roughly 25,000-year-old limestone carving showing a voluptuous female number cradling her pregnant stomach with one hand, and also holding a crescent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches in the other. Numerous scholars believe the figurine may have actually represented a goddess of fertility in a routine or ceremony, if the 13 present are generally read as a referral to the lunar or menstrual cycle, both of which represent feminine power.
As Christianity got momentum in the middle Ages, however, paganism stood at odds through the brand-new patriarchal faith. Not only did its leaders take it objection to the prayer of multiple gods and also goddesses, yet the solemn event of Friday, the number 13, and the goddesses that invoked love, sex, fertility, magic and also pleasure were considered unholy.
So revered to be these deities, though, that making people relinquish them verified a real challenge. Yet Christian authorities persisted v their campaign, branding both the deities and also the women who worshiped castle witches.
"When Norse and also Germanic people converted come Christianity, Frigga to be banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch," Panati writes. "It was thought that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting through eleven other witches, to add the evil one -- a collection of thirteen -- and also plotted ill transforms of fate because that the coming week."
Early in her career, Taylor Swift would often perform through the number 13 -- i m sorry the singer considers happy -- written on her hand. Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images
These days, the course, Friday the 13th still haunts the west imagination. However with conversations roughly the duty misogyny has played in silencing powerful women throughout background now in the mainstream, probably the narrative of this ominous date and also the mrs deities linked with it can soon be rewritten.
The tide might have already started to turn: take Taylor Swift, who considers 13 her lucky number and, early on in she career, often performed v the number written on she hand.
"I was born on the 13th. I turned 13 on Friday the 13th. My an initial album went yellow in 13 weeks. My very first No. 1 one song had a 13-second intro," she said MTV in 2009. "Every time I"ve won an compensation I"ve to be seated in either the 13th seat, the 13th row, the 13th ar or row M, i m sorry is the 13th letter. Basically, whenever a 13 come up in my life, it"s a an excellent thing."


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With more endorsements choose this, fortune, rather than fear, could well become the heritage of Friday the 13th.