Friday, May 13, 2011

Why are we afraid of Friday the 13th?

Jason slashing the heck out of people at Camp Crystal Lake aside, why are people superstitious about Friday the 13th? Any Friday is a good Friday, right? So why is this date so dang scary? Funny thing is, no one can agree.

This fear may have come from The Last Supper, where there were twelve apostles, plus Jesus, at the table, a total of thirteen guests. The Last Supper was on Thursday, and the Crucifixion happened on the following day, Friday. Friday the 13th? A bit of a stretch, yeah?

Or French King Philip IV ordered the Knights Templar arrested on Friday, October 13, 1307, spawning the start of conspiracy theories everywhere and this superstition. A little thin, huh?

Tupac died on Friday, September 13, 1996, but that's a little too recent to explain this fear.

Maybe it's because the ancient Norse folk (oh, those Norse folk) had a myth about the twelve gods hanging out at Valhalla, when the thirteenth trickster god, Loki, crashed the party, fooled one god into shooting and killing another god, and caused the whole world to go dark and black with mourning. We've all been to parties like that, but this also seems like inventing an explanation after the fact.

The truth is, no one really knows where the fear of Friday the 13th comes from, but millions of people won't travel, invest or do anything important on the date for fear of disaster. In 2011, with our Twittery tweets and our scientific brains and our technology and antibiotics, I find this kind of strong and lingering unexplained superstition wonderful.

I hope your day was lovely. And tomorrow, we can go outside again.

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