Friday the 13th

Friday 13th on an Image

Friday the 13th is thought to be an unlucky day, but there is little empirical evidence to support the notion. Before Friday became the last day of the work week it had been seen to be a bad day in general. This may be because the crucifixion took place on a Friday. In the 1800s the number 13 began to take on significance as an unlucky number. About this time a belief arose that it was bad luck to have 13 people set down together at a meal. (This may have come from the fact that there were 13 people present at the last supper of Jesus.)

Thirteen has not always been deemed unlucky. At the founding of the United States, 13 was an auspicious number, and played prominently in early national symbology, largely because there were originally thirteen states. It also figured positively in the worship of ancient goddesses because it coincided in the number of lunar cycles in the year (and also menstrual cycles).

Nevertheless, once Friday and 13 both became seen to be unlucky, the conjunction of the 13th day in the month with the sixth day of the week became doubly unlucky. There is no evidence in writing of this superstition existing before the late 1800s. However, there was an incident on a Friday, October 13 in 1307 that has resonated for centuries. At the time the Templars were a very powerful crusading organization. The King of France of the time, Philippe IV, sent out sealed orders to all of his officers throughout France to be opened on the morning of Friday the 13th. The orders revealed and executed were to arrest all of the members of this powerful order including their leader Jacques de Molay and especially to confiscate all of the assets of the Templars.

Molay and his entire order were brought down. Molay himself was burned at the stake. While being burned it is said that he cursed the King as well as the Pope of the time (who had some complicity in the affair) and challenged them to meet him before the throne of God before a year was out. Both the king and the Pope died within a year. It was also said he cursed the house of Capet, which was the ruling family in France. Quickly the successors to the throne died out and the rule of France passed on to another family.

Whatever you think of Friday the 13th, mystical phenomenon or self-fulfilling prophesy, we have put together a calculator that will allow you to get a list of all the "unlucky" days in any given year.

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