HONOLULU (KHON2) — It’s Friday the 13th. What are your plans to subvert the unlucky?
There’s an entire movie franchise devoted to the bad luck of teens and young adults who find themselves in the woods with a hockey masked killer.
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We are all a bit superstitious when it comes to Friday the 13th. We expect bad things can happen; and even if we don’t believe in being lucky and unlucky, we usually blame Friday the 13th when anything does happen.
But where does the superstitions and beliefs that the day is unlucky come from?
There is a great deal of information out there; so, KHON2.com decided to distill all that information into one place.
13 is the number of the divine feminine
In the ancient world, the number 13 was the number of the divine feminine. It was associated with various female gods, the moon and rituals.
There are 13 moon cycles that are contained within our modern calendars since the change to use a solar demarcation system. This is why the Hebrew calendar along with many other calendars from the ancient world relied on a system based on the number 13 to calculate.
The Babylonians believed that utilizing 13 signs to calculate astrology was too complicated and chose the simpler calculations afforded by the number 12. So, they extracted a sign and reorganized the zodiac to fit their purposes. We continue to use this simplistic calculation method that does not account for the expansion and movement of the universe.
Ceasar moved his calendar to be 12 months with 365 days. The number 12 is the number of the masculine and was considered to be a superior number to 13 by the Romans. This is also why the Tropical astrological paradigm was created where there are 12 zodiac signs with fixed dates. It made calculations easier and moved knowledge from the hands of the people to the hands of leaders.
It was also Rome, during this period of history, that sought to enslave women for the first time. Stripping women of their traditional power and independence that characterized the ancient world was a major disruption to families, villages and communities. It removed the power of the feminine from leadership equations.
In addition to Rome’s move to eradicate the power of the feminine there is the Ptolemy dynasty from Egypt that led to unease with the number. There were 13 rulers from the Ptolemy dynasty, and the last ruler died on April 13.
13 and Fridays becomes cursed for Christians
The Middle Ages (circa 400-1400 CE) is characterized by the loss of the Roman Empire as the most formidable power in the world. When Rome fell, many rulers popped onto the scene. Lots of them challenged the authority of the Vatican, the new default epicenter of the Roman Empire.
But, during these one thousand years of darkness, people across Europe lost access to the many advancements that had been created in the Middle East through the millennia. For example, electricity and indoor plumbing knowledge died and did not return to people until recent history.
It is believed that it was during this period of our history that the number 13 and Friday began to be associated with bad luck. In addition to losing vital technology, residents of Europe during the dark ages also experienced a great deal of religious colonization spearheaded by the Vatican.
As Catholic influence broadened through these years, the curse of the number 13 and Fridays became a tool for the Vatican to eradicate the power that women had accumulated. So, as Catholicism supplanted ancient wisdom, beliefs and traditions and introduced its own new concept of the world that involved the church’s total domination, the number 13 fell deeper and deeper into the realm of the cursed.
Judas was identified as the 13th guest of the Last Supper; and since he was the betrayer of the Chrisitan god Jesus, Judas and the number 13 became toxic.
This was so much the case that it continues to impact how we interact with the world. Most people will not allow a dinner party of 13 while lots of buildings skip the 13th floor and move directly to number 14 after 12.
Then there’s Fridays. During the Middle Ages, Fridays were known as Hangman’s Day. This was the day of the week when those who had insulted, in some way, the Vatican or a local king were killed.
Hence, Fridays were not a fun day for the masses whose existence could be snuffed out at the whim of a priest or a ruler.
However, Good Friday was considered to be the only lucky Friday. Because the church introduced the idea that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, that one Friday of the year meant that no one was killed by the hangman. This led many to believe that business and travel were to be undertaken on this particular Friday.
To sum up the impact 13 had on European conceptions of the world, King Philip IV of France began his mission to dismantle the Knights Templar which had been created to embark on the Crusades — the Chrisitan Holy War in the Middle East that was in search of relics to prove Jesus’s existence. King Philip believed the wealth gained from the missions by the knights had made them too wealthy, and he feared they would attempt to take his throne.
King Philip launched his mission against the knights on Friday the 13th in April 1307.
Friday the 13th today
In our modern world, Friday the 13th has become a day to have fun and reflect on our actions.
In the 19th century, a wealthy businessman attempted to mitigate the negative connotations regarding the number the 13. The created the Thirteen Club in which members would dine on the 13th day of each month with 13 guests at each table.
The meal took place in room 13 at the Knickerbocker Cottage and offered a 13-course meal. Four former U.S. presidents were members including Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt.
The publication of the novel Friday, the Thirteenth by Thomas William Lawson set up a scenario in which Wall Street crashed, bringing the world’s economies to their knees. This book helped reinforce how we view Friday the 13th in our modern era. It was a hugely successful book, selling 60,000 copies in its first year of publication in 1907.
These are some strange events in the 20 century that has made us believe that there truly is something different about Friday the 13th.
- The German bombing of Buckingham Palace in September 1940.
- The murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York in March 1964.
- A cyclone that killed more than 300,000 people in Bangladesh in November 1970.
- The disappearance of a Chilean Air Force plane in the Andes in October 1972.
- The death of rapper Tupac Shakur in September 1996.
- The crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy, which killed 30 people in January 2012.
Then, we bring it full circle back to the extremely successful horror movie franchise, Friday the 13th. It propelled superstitions to a new level of kitsch with its hockey masked killers that stalked unsuspecting high school and university students.
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Well, that’s the long and the short of it. Friday the 13th for our modern world is a fun day to watch scary movies and explore the dark side of things that we normally avoid. So, go out and have fun. It’s Friday the 13th!