Friday 13th

chat noir sur escabeauDo you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia? Others may know the phenomenon as paraskevidekatriaphobia.

The first comes from Frigga, the Norse name for the goddess of Friday, and triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number thirteen. The second is from the Greek Paraskevi for Friday, and Dekatreis for thirteen.

The Norse myth centres around twelve gods having a feast in Valhalla. Mischievous god Loki arrived uninvited as number 13 and arranged for Hod, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Baldur, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Apparently, Baldur was killed and the Earth was plunged into darkness and mourning as a result.

Some say later, she was confused with the goddess of love, Frigg/Freya, who in turn became identified with Friday. When the Norsemen and Germanic tribes became Christians, Freya was supposed to have been banished to the mountains as a witch. Friday came to be called ‘witches’ Sabbath. It was believed that on this day, each week, twelve witches and the Devil met – thirteen evil spirits in all.

Whatever the legends say, or what we believe, there are a surprising number of people worldwide who are not just a little superstitious about Friday the 13th, it causes them a full-blown phobia. There is always at leas one Friday the 13th each year, up to a maximum of three. It seems that the Black Friday superstitions started around the 19th century, but superstitions surrounding the number 13 date back to at least 1700 BC.

Today, some of the most popular superstitions include the belief that:

  • If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die.
  • If a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die.
  • Do not start a trip on Friday or you will encounter misfortune.
  • If you break a mirror on Friday the 13th, you will have seven years of bad luck.
  • A child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life.
  • Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck.
  • If you walk under a ladder or if a black cat crosses you on Friday the 13th, you will have bad luck.

To most of us, it’s clear that there is little basis in fact for these worries, but the number 13 certainly has a bad repuation, as opposed to its little brother, 12.

12 is historically considered the number of completeness – there are 12 months of the year, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 hours on the clock, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles of Jesus and 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams, among many others.

Given that life is now generally accepted to be what you make of it, make today a great Friday – think of a task you can complete or act of kindness you can offer to welcome the light back to Friday the 13th!