Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th

It's supposed to be the unluckiest day of all, but why? PolicyMic explains. Here's an excerpt...

No one knows for sure where a fear of Friday the 13th comes from. Some point to the last supper of Jesus Christ. The 13th guest at the table – Judas – ratted him out to the Romans, leading to Jesus’ crucifixion one day later, on a Friday. At least that’s how the story goes. Others link Friday the 13th to Norse mythology, which includes the tale of another dinner party (what’s up with these dinners going horribly?) Legend says the Norse gods were dining together when a 13th uninvited guest, Loki, arrived. One thing led to another and Loki arranged the death of Balder, the god of joy, for which the “whole earth mourned.”

There's also a general fear of the number 13 itself. The idea that so many things are organized in groups of 12 – months, zodiac signs, apostles, tribes of Israel, etc. – might be why 13 is considered unlucky. Just don’t tell that to any bakers you know.

But most contemporary references to a fear of the number 13 didn’t hit the mainstream until the 19th century. One of the earliest superstitions around the number 13 included “if 13 people sit at a table together, one will die within a year” (again with these dinners, come on).

Friday the 13th has some troubled history, too. On Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, France’s King Philip IV began a raid against the Knights Templar, charging them with illegal activity and throwing them in prison, where many of them eventually died.

What about people born on Friday the 13th? Are all of them evil? Well, it depends who you ask. Births on Friday the 13th feature some notable names, including Fidel Castro, the Olsen twins, and noted witch Nate Silver.

Maybe we should just ask Nate Silver for the odds of it being a bad day today. I'm sure he's got all the statistical models already built.

As for me, I can't remember ever having a bad day on Friday the 13th. In fact, my son Johnny was scheduled to be born on Friday the 13th of March 1998. Fate intervened, however, and Bridget's water broke the day before. Johnny was born on the 12th.