Long considered a harbinger of bad luck, Friday the 13th has inspired a late 19th-century secret society, an early 20th-century novel, a horror film franchise and not one but two unwieldy terms—paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia—that describe fear of this supposedly unlucky day.
The Fear of 13
Just like walking under a ladder, crossing paths with a black cat or breaking a mirror, many people hold fast to the belief that Friday the 13th brings bad luck. Though it’s uncertain exactly when this particular tradition began, negative superstitions have swirled around the number 13 for centuries.
While Western cultures have historically associated the number 12 with completeness (there are 12 days of Christmas, 12 months and zodiac signs, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 gods of Olympus and 12 tribes of Israel, just to name a few examples), its successor 13 has a long history as a sign of bad luck.
The ancient Code of Hammurabi, for example, reportedly omitted a 13th law from its list of legal rules. Though this was probably a clerical error, superstitious people sometimes point to this as proof of 13’s longstanding negative associations.
Fear of the number 13 has even earned a psychological term: triskaidekaphobia.
Why is Friday the 13th Unlucky?
According to biblical tradition, 13 guests attended the Last Supper, held on Maundy Thursday, including Jesus and his 12 apostles (one of whom, Judas, betrayed him). The next day, of course, was Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.
The seating arrangement at the Last Supper is believed to have given rise to a longstanding Christian superstition that having 13 guests at a table was a bad omen—specifically, that it was courting death.
Though Friday’s negative associations are weaker, some have suggested they also have roots in Christian tradition: Just as Jesus was crucified on a Friday, Friday was also said to be the day Eve gave Adam the fateful apple from the Tree of Knowledge, as well as the day Cain killed his brother, Abel.
The Thirteen Club
In the late-19th century, a New Yorker named Captain William Fowler (1827-1897) sought to remove the enduring stigma surrounding the number 13—and particularly the unwritten rule about not having 13 guests at a dinner table—by founding an exclusive society called the Thirteen Club.
The group dined regularly on the 13th day of the month in room 13 of the Knickerbocker Cottage, a popular watering hole Fowler owned from 1863 to 1883. Before sitting down for a 13-course dinner, members would pass beneath a ladder and a banner reading “Morituri te Salutamus,” Latin for “Those of us who are about to die salute you.”
Friday the 13th in Pop Culture
An important milestone in the history of the Friday the 13th legend in particular (not just the number 13) occurred in 1907, with the publication of the novel Friday, the Thirteenth written by Thomas William Lawson.
The book told the story of a New York City stockbroker who plays on superstitions about the date to create chaos on Wall Street, and make a killing on the market.
The horror movie Friday the 13th, released in 1980, introduced the world to a hockey mask-wearing killer named Jason, and is perhaps the best-known example of the famous superstition in pop culture history. The movie spawned multiple sequels, as well as comic books, novellas, video games, related merchandise and countless terrifying Halloween costumes.
What bad things happened on Friday 13th?
On Friday, October 13, 1307, officers of King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar, a powerful religious and military order formed in the 12th century for the defense of the Holy Land.
Imprisoned on charges of various illegal behaviors (but really because the king wanted access to their financial resources), many Templars were later executed. Some cite the link with the Templars as the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition, but like many legends involving the Templars and their history, the truth remains murky.
In more recent times, a number of traumatic events have occurred on Friday the 13th, including the German bombing of Buckingham Palace(September 1940); the murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York (March 1964); a cyclone that killed more than 300,000 people in Bangladesh (November 1970); the disappearance of a Chilean Air Force plane in the Andes (October 1972); the death of rapper Tupac Shakur (September 1996) and the crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy, which killed 30 people (January 2012).
“The Origins of Unlucky Friday the 13th,” Live Science.
“Friday the 13th: why is it unlucky and other facts about the worst day in the calendar,” The Telegraph.
“13 Freaky Things That Happened on Friday the 13th,” Live Science.
“Here’s Why Friday the 13th is Considered Unlucky,” Time.
“Friggatriskaidekaphobes Need Not Apply,” New-York Historical Society.
Time Magazine September 12, 2019
A September full moon, also known as a “Harvest Moon,” will be visible to many Americans this Friday the 13th.
According to NASA, the moon will be full early Saturday morning, Sept. 14, at 12:33 a.m. EST, but for those who live in the Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones, the full moon will be visible shortly before midnight on Friday the 13th.
NASA says that the moon will appear full for about three days centered around this time — from Thursday night through Sunday morning.
To read the rest Friday 13, 2019
The sweetest full moon of the year is June’s full moon, commonly known as the Full Strawberry Moon. While the full moon itself is inedible, despite how round and delicious it may seem, the Full Strawberry Moon marks strawberry harvesting season in North America. Most Algonquin tribes understood that it was a sign that wild strawberries were starting to ripen and ready for the harvest. Delicious though ripe strawberries may be, June’s full moon has another name that’s even sweeter.
What could possibly be sweeter than strawberries? Try honey. In Europe, June’s full moon was actually known as the Honey Moon. Other European names for it included the Hot Moon, signifiying the beginning of hot summer days, or Hay Moon, because of the first hay harvest. Those names aside, European names for the Full Strawberry Moon overall tend to have sweet, romantic connotations – a good example is the name Full Rose Moon. June’s full moon is also called Mead Moon, which could refer to the mowing of meadows during summer, but there’s another more romantic interpretation as well.
In Europe, it’s traditional to gift mead or honey to a newlywed couple during their first moon of marriage. The name Honey Moon itself has now become a common word in the English language, used to refer to the honeymoon holiday that couples go on right after they’re married. It used to be that newlyweds in ancient Europe would go on a sweet romantic holiday around the time of June’s full moon, because the moon phases were seen as a symbol for the phases of a marriage, with the full moon signifying the fullest and happiest part, the wedding itself.
The Full Strawberry Moon is tied to romance and marital bliss all around the world. In India, for example, June’s full moon is celebrated as Vat Purnima, where married women perform a ceremonial ritual to show their love for their husbands. Vat Purnima is based off a legend from the Mahabharata, about a beautiful woman, Savitri, who is determined to save her husband, Satyavan, who is doomed to die an early death. Savitri fasts for three days before Satyavan dies, upon which she successfully negotiates with the King of Hell for the resurrection of her husband. Similarly, married women nowadays dress up in beautiful saris, fast, and tie a thread around a banyan tree seven times to wish that their husbands will lead long, happy lives.
It is no wonder, then, that the Pagans also call June’s full moon the Lovers’ Moon. This is an excellent time to work on the connections in your life, romantic or otherwise, by showing affection to your loved ones and allowing yourself to be vulnerable to encourage intimacy in your relationships. During this Honey Moon, some Hoodoo practitioners will even use honey in magic rituals to sweeten other people’s feelings towards the practitioner. An example of a sweetening ritual is to pour honey into a saucer containing the target’s name, before lighting a candle on top of it. Another example of a honey ritual is to tie two poppets together with honey between them, in order to heal a broken relationship between two people. Honey rituals aside, true magic may happen when you invest your time and effort during this month to work on your relationships and appreciate the love you have in your life.