Today is Friday the 13th. We all know that many folks believe that the date is unlucky, so much so that, according to traveltips.usatoday.com, some tall-hotel companies and owners of other tall buildings avoid having a 13th floor and go from 12th to 14th when numbering levels because they don’t want visitors or employees to feel uneasy.
The date has never brought me concern, however, I wanted to research why, in our culture, it is so steeped in superstition. On the website history.com I found some answers. Here is what I discovered at that site:
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.
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.