Tomorrow is the day when you’ll think twice about walking under a ladder, maybe wince at the site of a black cat and definitely pick up that penny from the sidewalk, while knowing deep down inside that everything is probably going to be alright. Yep, it’s Friday the 13th again. I’ve never really understood why this unlucky day was on a Friday. Mondays are a hell of a lot scarier. Since it is Throwback Thursday and all, let’s find out the history of this day together.
Our fear of Friday the 13th goes all the way back to the Middle Ages. Someone made a connection to what happened on Good Friday and Holy Thursday in the Bible. On the Thursday before Jesus was crucified, 13 people met for dinner in a room, which, of course, is known as the Last Supper. In religious history, this day is known as 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday. This dinner was the last event before Jesus’ crucifixion. Although there is a definite connection to bad luck, the number 13, and a Friday in the Bible, no official recognition of these factors combining to form the unluckiest day of the year was stated until the 19th century.
Another point in history that contributed to everyone’s hatred of Friday the 13 is when, in 1307, Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar. Not only did this event happen on that fateful day, but it also happened in the month of October, a month that is now creepy due to Halloween. This event, however, wasn’t discovered until recently when numerous authors mentioned it in their 20th century novels, including Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.”
Another event that contributed to Friday the 13th being known as unlucky was the death of a composer in 1868. Henry Sutherland Edwards wrote a biography about Gioachino Rossini. In it, he describes how many Italians during the 1800s thought Fridays and the number 13 were ill-fated. Ironically, Rossini passed away on a Friday in November and the date just so happened to be the 13th.
It’s not a surprise that authors have used this spooky day to add a certain theme to their novels. In turn, this attracts the public’s attention and possibly contributed to the widely accepted belief that the day is unlucky. One example in particular is Thomas W. Lawson’s 1907 novel, “Friday, the Thirteenth.” The plot of the book centers around a shifty stockbroker who helps create panic across Wall Street on Friday the 13th.
Although many of us brush off these Fridays every year, millions of people in the United States alone have a legitimate fear of this day, which is called paraskevidekatriaphobia. Wouldn’t you hate to get that word in a spelling bee? People who suffer from this phobia halt their normal day-to-day activities to avoid any potential accidents caused by the date. The amount of people who are frightened of Friday the 13th are enough to make it the most feared day and date in history. Stay safe, friends!