Friday, June 13, 2008

Superstitions: Friday the 13th



For those that suffer from "triskaidekaphobia", the fear of the number 13, or friggatriskaidekaphobia. a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th, you'd best beware of all of the other ill omens and myths surrounding this day of great portent of impending doom.

Friday is Frigga's Day. Frigg or Frigga was an ancient Scandinavian fertility and love goddess, equivalent to the Roman Venus who had been worshiped on the sixth day of the week. Early Christians believed that Frigga was a witch and any Friday was the witches' Sabbath. For them, Friday the 13th was neither silly nor a joke. For them, it was a day that caused anxiety if not outright terror.

The origin of the association of this day as being a day of 'bad luck' , like most mythological symbology, has altered with time. But common Biblical beliefs link it to a variety of symbols. Biblical referencing most commonly link it to Friday, the day of Jesus Christ's crucifixion, the beginning of the Great Flood, Eves' offering of the apple to Adam, the day that Noah faced the Great Flood, or the Last Supper, at which Judas Iscariot was said to have been the 13th guest to sit down at the table. Judas later betrayed Jesus, leading to Jesus's crucifixion.

This led to the fear of having 13 guests at a dinner table fortold that one of them would die within the year. This also led to the superstition that the first person to rise from the table, or the last one to be seated, was an ill omen and created the concept of all waiting to be seated at the same time, standing up at the same time, or breaking groups into smaller tables to avoid the seating of 13.

Eventually, by the late 19th century, people went out of their way to avoid anything associated with the number 13...whether it was hotel rooms, desks, cars, floors of a building, rungs of a ladder, or steps on the stairs. These 'ill omens' led to the avoidance of even using these numbers in many places, and led to the renumbering (without the number 12) of hotel rooms, floors and so forth.

Other beliefs include:

  • Needleworking: "I knew an old lady who, if she had nearly completed a piece of needlework on a Thursday, would put it aside unfinished, and set a few stitches in her next undertaking, that she might not be obliged either to begin the new task on Friday or to remain idle for a day." (1883)
  • Giving Birth: "A child born on Friday is doomed to misfortune." (1846)

  • Getting Married: "As to Friday, a couple married on that day are doomed to a cat-and-dog life." (1879)

  • Recovering from Illness: "If you have been ill, don't get up for the first time on Friday." (1923)

  • Moving: "Don't move on a Friday, or you won't stay there very long." (1982)

  • Starting a New Job: "Servants who go into their situations on Friday, never go to stay."(1923) ....and my favorite.....

  • Hearing News: "If you hear anything on a Friday, it gives you another wrinkle on your face, and adds a year to your age." (1883)

1 comment:

  1. Well, I was married nearly 7 years ago on a Friday and we're still falling in love every day.

    We moved into our new condo this February on a Friday. I hope we're here a long time. I hate moving.

    I may be starting a new job later this year. I hope I don't start on a Friday!

    Thanks for sharing these Friday tips.

    ReplyDelete

Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.