The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times. Their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won’t dine in restaurants; many wouldn’t think of setting a wedding on that date.
Though no one can say for sure when and why human beings first associated the number 13 with misfortune, the superstition is assumed to be quite old, and there exist any number of theories purporting to trace its origins to antiquity and beyond.
The fear of Friday 13th even has a name – friggatriskaidekaphobia, which combines a fear of Fridays with the perception that number 13 is seriously unlucky.
Some say it’s comes from the Bible. For example, Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was described as “the 13th guest” at the Last Supper. Also, events including the great flood during the time of Noah, Eve tempting Adam with the forbidden fruit and Jesus’ death all apparently happened on Fridays.
Others believe it’s linked to Norse mythology, which tells how Loke, the demigod of mischief turned up uninvited, joining 12 others and taking their number to 13.
But, truth be told, it isn’t really clear why it’s thought to be unlucky. Read more