It’s Friday the 13th, a day that people either embrace or fear. A day that doesn’t usually come around too often, but this year we have had three Friday the 13th’s. We had one in February, one in March, and today is the third. It is very rare to get three Friday the 13th’s in one year. It won’t happen again until 2026.
More than 60 million people worldwide claim to be affected by a fear of Friday the 13th. Some won’t go to work, drive their cars, or get out of bed on this day. Many hospitals do not have a room 13, while airports don’t have a Gate 13, and a lot of hotels don’t have a thirteenth floor. The official word for the fear of Friday 13th is “paraskevidekatriaphobia”.
The belief that Friday the 13th is bad luck may have sprung from Norse legend when on Friday, 12 Gods were joined by a 13th God, Loki who was a cruel and brought upon humans great misfortune. Loki crashed a party at Valhalla disguised as an old hag. The Gods allowed him in and fed him, thinking he was a nomad soul passing through. Valhalla was the “banquet hall of the gods.” The Gods were enjoying a great feast where Balder, Odin’s son, was letting them throw spears at him to show his strength and courage. There were 12 guests present at the hall, they were the greatest of the Norse Gods, until Loki arrived, Loki the trickster Norse God was the 13th guest. The affair turned grim when Balder, the beloved son of Odin, the God of light, joy, and reconciliation was killed when Loki tricked Balder’s sightless brother Hod into throwing a spear of mistletoe at him, the only thing on earth that could kill Balder. By doing this, Loki brought about the promise of Ragnarök which will be doomsday when Odin will get revenge on Loki and all the Great Gods will fight their enemies including Loki. This will bring about the end of the world, ushering in a new dawn where Balder will be resurrected and rule in place of Odin.
On Friday the 13th in the year 1307, thousands of soldier monks of the powerful Knights Templar were massacred by French King Louis IV. It is said that blood ran through the streets like a river. Many people believe this is where our fear of the date stems from. The Pope of the church in Rome, in Conjunction with the King of France, carried out a secret death warrant against the Knights Templar. The Templars were terminated as heretics, never again to hold the power that they had held for so long. The Grand Master Jacques DeMolay was arrested and before he was killed, was tortured and crucified. This was carried out on Friday the 13th and there were 13 High Templars which ruled the Knights Templar.
In Spanish-speaking countries, Tuesdays dated the 13th, not Fridays, are considered unlucky. In Italian culture, Friday the 17th is considered unlucky.
The number 13 appears many times on the U.S. $1 bill. There are 13 stars, 13 stripes, 13 steps, 13 arrows, and even an olive branch with 13 leaves on it. Also there were thirteen colonies in British North America. There are 13 stars and stripes on the original American flag.
From a religious standpoint, Muslims tout Friday as the day Allah created Adam. Legend has it that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit on a Friday and later died on a Friday. Christians consider Friday as the day on which Christ was crucified by the Romans. Also the number 13, in the Christian faith, is the number of guests at the Last Supper with the 13th guest at the table being the traitor, Judas. When Christians combine this day and number the combination can only hold special significance. In Judaism, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is held at age 13 on a Friday the Jewish Sabbath day. The Bible also lists 13 attributes of God. (Editor’s Note: I’ve been to plenty of Bar Mitzvahs. None of them were on a Friday or even on the 13th of a month.)
There are 13 Witches to a Coven, which is true for many traditional Covens, but not all.
Written credit goes to Wicca Teachings.
Edited for accuracy and cohesiveness by Lisa Marino