Friday, February 13, 2009
It's Friday the 13th. Why the Superstition?
This all started back with the Last Supper and other cultures added their spin.
Here's the story:
The Superstition Behind Friday the 13th: It's strange how society has come to accept "superstition" so plainly and unquestioning. Go to every hotel in the States and there is almost never a floor with the number 13 in it. However, if you should venture to a hotel in Italy, you will indeed find that 13 is not skipped over. In fact, a gold charm of the number is given to Italian infants to ensure good luck and prosperity in their developing life. Why then, is there such suspicion surrounding 13?
Furthermore, ever wonder what makes Friday the 13th so "evil"? (Note: Friday the 13th was considered a day of bad luck and evil long before the movies came out!) There are various theories surrounding 13.
Since Christianity has had a extremely large influence on all societies as a whole, we shall look there first. At the "Final Supper" or "Last Supper" (whoever you chose to term it) there were 13 guests. Some believe Jesus to be the 13th at feast, occurring just before he was Crucified. This is a largely debatable theory, however. How does one know where to start counting? Many chose to go by the painting "The Last Supper," forgetting that this is an artist's interpretation of an event he did not attend. The painting depicts the disciples and Jesus at a table, but evidence suggests that the last supper was not conducted at a table. Rather the participants were seated on the ground where it was cooler. (The climate in Israel, at that time, suggests they would have stayed on the ground to keep cool.) Furthermore, where to start counting (when assuming the picture is accurate)? If one started with Judas, Jesus became the 13th guest. Conversely, if the count began at Jesus, it was indeed Judas who was 13. Both options would contribute to the mystique surrounding 13: Jesus, for he was killed soon after the feast, Judas for he was the betrayer of Jesus. On an additional, though little proven, note, some have claimed to be a 13th tribe of Israel. The bible proclaims only 12, and a very high percentage of Christians and Jews deny that a 13th tribe even exist. However, a few recognize that a group had, falsely, identified themselves as a 13th tribe. The members of the "13th tribe" were labeled as "witches" and "sorcerers," an evil group who determine to destroy followers of God.
Plainly, this does not lend any favor to 13, and adds more propaganda against Witchcraft. The fact that so many haven't even heard of this 13th Tribe makes the probability of the labeling of "Witches" being accurate extremely low. (Furthermore, the low probability simply further illustrates the false propaganda Christian organizations are willing to put forth in order to label Witchcraft as evil.) Friday the 13th comes into play when it is observed that Jesus was Crucified on a Friday.
Obviously, should one chose to accept this theory, the day associated with the death of the Savior would lend to the supposed bad luck which occupies this particular date. It is said, also, that it was a Friday when Adam and Eve ate the fruit. Furthermore, Friday used to be the 6th day of the week, it was not until more recent times that it became the 5th day. 6, being the number biblically associated with man, relates to the Devil. 3 is the number of the Holy Trinity, therefore with 6 being the number of man, 666 was denoted as the number of the Beast. (A Trinity of Six, signifying the God of Man, Satan) One can hardly find this connection to Satan adding to the "good name" of Friday the 13th.
Also, any month with a Friday the 13th must begin with a Sunday the 1st. Curiosity leads one to ask if a significance lies in the observation that only months that begin with the day God decided to rest (Sunday), after "creating the world," yield a day of such supposed demonic evil and misfortune. To the Norse Friday was the luckiest day of the week, being named after Freya, one of their Deities. Also named after Venus, in Rome and France.
For Mohammedans, Friday after sunset is also the Sabbath. The implications connecting Darkness, and hence Sunset (the transition from light to dark), and Evil would indeed lend to the idea of misfortune which surrounds Friday the 13th, to those who find the Muslim path as evil and heathen. Mohammedans also say that Adam was created on a Friday. It can be seen that it is largely within the Christian ranks that Friday takes on a significant connotation of evil when teamed with the 13th.
To continue on, perhaps extending a bit further in the past than Christian influence, a mythological occurrence presents:
At the banquet in Valhalla, of which there were 12 guests, Loki, God of Deceit, intruded, becoming the uninvited 13th guest. In Norse mythology, Balder was the god of light and beauty. The most beloved of the gods, he was the son of Odin and Frigg and the husband of Nanna, goddess of the Moon. Balder was killed by Loki's treachery during the proceedings. Through Loki's interference, the return of Balder, from the possession of Hel, was an impossible task. To return Balder, Hel demanded that all living things beg for the god's return. All respond except a giantess, Thokk (Loki in disguise), whose refusal to weep forces Balder to remain in Hel's domain. There are 13 members which make up a Wicca/Pagan Coven to fully cast the Circle. 13 was sacred because it represented the amount of lunar months in year (Thirteen Full Moons).
It has also been speculated that 13 was maximum # of people that could fit comfortably in a traditional Circle with a 9 foot diameter. 6 male-female couples and a priest or priestess. Not so surprising is the understanding that 13, being a sacred number to most Pagan traditions, was therefore considered evil by early Christians. It took very little for the religious leaders to invent a dogma to counter the Pagans sacred number.
The question can be posed: If the mystique surrounding 13 is not invented dogma, why then do hotels hold rooms labeled #666? Why is this number not also omitted? For a superstition to spread so far it must be distributed through a largely influential source, such as Christianity. Notice again, 13 is still considered good luck in Italy, home of the Roman Catholic church, which separated from the rest of Christianity due to conflicting political and theological disagreements.
Moreover, Friday was considered sacred by both Norse traditions and Muslims, both which are considered enemies to Christianity. Instituting Friday the 13th as a day of evil worked to prevent losing followers to either path, utilizing fear as a binding weapon. A recent article shows that a new superstition has been 'invented' involving the number 13. Now some serial killers has been bunched under the 13 letter group, and it goes something like this: Jack the Ripper- 13 letters John Wayne Gacy- 13 letters Charles Manson- 13 letters Jeffrey Dahmer- 13 letters Theodore ( Ted ) Bundy- 13 letters
This latest bad press is bound to give the self-respecting normal 13s in the world an even worse time of it. From here on, it can be seen how the "bad luck" attributed to Friday the 13th comes from peoples' assumption that the date carries evil in it's wake. Therefore, anything that goes wrong on the 13th is assumed to be the effect of some supernatural evil.
The luck or unluckiness of any given number resides solely in the mind of the person, and within the realm of the boogie man. All the superstitions built up around Friday the 13th were political maneuvers, largely on the part of Christian religious leaders (but most definitely not the only offenders), to divert their followers minds from other spiritual paths.