In Western culture, Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day. Most superstitious people get to even avoid some habits on this date. Although there is no official origin for the “tradition”, several hypotheses are speculated.
As a matter of fact, making a historical overview, many negative and tragic events took place on Fridays and some are related to the number 13. Do dates like today really “give luck to bad luck”?
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Well, before checking out what is curious behind Friday the 13th, it is necessary to go back in time and understand why this date is feared. From a Christian religious perspective, it is said that at Jesus’ last supper, which took place on a Thursday, he met with his 12 disciples, making a total of 13 people at the meal. Jesus died the next day, a Friday.
Christian tradition still links the fact that Jesus died on a Friday to the fact that the book of Revelation points to the number 13 as the mark of the beast, of the antichrist. The imperfection of the number 13 is also linked to the numerous references to the number 12 in the Bible (12 tribes of Israel and 12 disciples), so the number 13 would be out of harmony with God’s project, which can be considered one of the reasons for the origin the superstition.
In addition to Christian beliefs, in history, the French monarch Philip IV would have ordered the persecution of the Knights Templar order on a Friday, October 13, 1307.
Coming closer to present times, the “Friday the 13th” film series also popularized the idea of a day of tragedy, misfortune and danger, telling the story of terror and murders provoked by the fictional character Jason. It is curious to note that, to date, 12 films have been made in the series and, since 2009, the 13th work is awaited, which would continue the saga.
As already said, there are several superstitions about the date. Avoiding crossing with black cats, going under stairs and breaking mirrors are some examples of beliefs, which can be considered silly by many people. However, there are other curiosities that link Friday the 13th to bad luck. See some below:
According to legend, evil and unrest were introduced into the world after Loki’s appearance at a dinner party in Valhalla. As the 13th participant, Loki, who was known as the god of trickery and mischief, disturbed the dinner of the 12 gods present and set up a fight that resulted in the death of one of them. Since then the number 13 is seen as a bad omen.
Impacts on the economy
It is estimated that each year, Friday the 13th results in financial losses in excess of $800 million dollars.
12 and 14
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, more than 80% of buildings in the United States do not have a 13th floor. Thus, in the elevator, the numbers are 12 and 14. Some Brazilian department stores do not have a 13 in their units, as well as restaurants that do not enumerate one of the tables in the hall with 13.
The fear of Friday the 13th has become recognized in medicine and there is a syndrome called paraskevidekatriaphobia to name the phobia that some people face related to the date.
Many world tragedies were recorded on a Friday the 13th, among them the destruction of Buckingham Palace during World War II, the Costa Concordia cruise ship sank in Italy and caused the death of 32 people in 2012 and a massive forest fire that reached Australia, where the fire began to spread on January 13, 1939. At the time, 700 houses were burned, 71 people died, and the fire consumed 575 hectares of land.