Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th

"Boy, 13, hit by lightning on Friday 13th at 13.13pm"- headline from UK newspaper today!
Why is Friday the 13th Considered Unlucky by Many, Lucky by Some?
Many beliefs and superstitions have come down through the ages. The most widespread one is that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. There are people who refuse to start anything new, make a decision or even step out of the house, or bed on Friday the 13th. There are mixed feelings about the combination of Friday and the 13th. Many people consider the date 13 unlucky, while even the day Friday is considered unlucky. Friday has been debated upon since ancient times—being considered both lucky and unlucky. The sixth day of the week was dedicated to Venus by the ancient Romans. Later, this was adopted by the Norsemen. However, their translation for Venus was Frigg or Freya, Goddess of fertility and motherhood, and this gave rise to the name Friday. Soon, Friday came to be considered the luckiest day of the week. On the other hand, Friday was considered an unlucky day from a religious viewpoint, according to incidents in the Bible. Legend says that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit on a Friday, they also died on a Friday. The Great Flood and the confusion at the Tower of Babel are believed to have begun on Fridays. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was the thirteenth guest at the Last Supper. It is also believed that Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday. The combination of Friday and thirteen gave rise to the belief that Friday the 13th was an unlucky day. There were other reasons that made the 13th an unlucky date. The 13th demi-god, Loki, of the Scandinavians was evil, so they believed that 13 was an unlucky number. In ancient times, counting beyond 12 was considered strange, so the number 13 was thought of as unlucky. Ancient beliefs have given rise to superstitions related to days and dates, particularly regarding Friday the 13th. However, beliefs are also colored by individual experiences and perceptions, so while many consider Friday the 13th unlucky, some consider it lucky! Parskavedekatreaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia are two of the longest words in the English language. They are the two terms that are associated with the fear of Friday the 13th. The first word is the clinical term for the phobia, and the second is the fear of the number 13. For centuries, the number 13 has been considered to be unlucky. The Masons, who were feared by many in Europe because of the secrecy of their society held 13 as a sacred number. The early Christian Church believed that 13 was an unlucky number and feared it because they associated it with femininity. Women will usually have 13 menstrual cycles in a year, and the early pagan religions held the number in high regard because of this. Friday has also always been considered as an unlucky day. There are many biblical scholars that believe that Eve gave Adam the fruit on a Friday, Cain killed Able on a Friday, Abraham died on a Friday, and that the world was flooded on a Friday. While there is no proved documentation as to these occurrences happening on a Friday, the fear cannot be denied. It is estimated that $800 - $900 million is lost in business revenues on Friday the 13th because of people not flying or handling business as normal. The British Medical Journal has proved in a study that there is a spike in automobile accidents on Friday the 13th. Modern culture has progressed this fear with the Friday the 13th movie series. The fear that there may be some kind of unwelcome death on this day is prevalent in some people's minds. The fear of Friday the 13th is rooted more in urban legend then in fact. 13, and Friday the 13th, have only been 'unlucky' for 700 years. Before that, they were 'lucky'. Among the reasons the number was sacred: its place in the Fibonacci sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8,13...), Sacred Geometry, which, for reasons unknown to many, the natural world strongly document. Friday was also considered sacred in ancient times. The reason for the change: on Friday, October 13th, 1307, all across Europe, the Knights Templar were summarily executed for sympathizing with pagans (heresy). The entire order was wiped out by Papal decree in the most coordinated military action in history. Now 13 is considered by some Christians to be 'the devil's number'. This, despite the fact that Jesus and his 12 disciples numbered 13 holy men. Unless one believes in a more historical Jesus - in which case, Mary Magdalene makes it 13 disciples. Because of its history, the number 13 has come to be associated with death. For example, a proper noose has 13 wraps in its coil, the steps leading up to a gallows traditionally number 13. So influential was "bloody" Friday the 13th, the majority of skyscrapers do not have a 13th floor. In Florence, Italy, there are no '13' addresses. The houses between 12 and 14 are labeled "12 1/2". 13 is so unlucky, in fact, that dice only roll up to 12, clocks have 12 hours, many foods come in dozens, and even Christmas has only 12 days. All this just so that no one will have to deal with a '13th'. To the ancient Egyptians, life was a quest for spiritual ascension which unfolded in stages - 12 in this life and a 13th beyond, thought to be the eternal afterlife. The number 13 therefore symbolized death - not in terms of dust and decay, but as a glorious and desirable transformation. Though Egyptian civilization perished, the symbolism conferred on the number 13 by its priesthood survived, only to be corrupted by subsequent cultures who came to associate 13 with a fear of death instead of a reverence for the afterlife.
By the way, the 13 year old boy struck by lightening survived- Lucky boy!
How was your Friday the 13th?

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