Friday, January 13, 2012

Fun Friday Facts #24: Friday the 13th Edition

It's Friday the 13th, and any minute now the walls will start bleeding. Now you'll have something topical to discuss while you're hiding in the nearest church, hoping and praying to hold out until sunrise.

Friday the 13th happens at least once every year, but may happen as many as three times in a single year. It occurs when the first day of the month is a Sunday.

Here's an enlightening photo from Wikipedia. ~ W.J. Pilsak

1) Fear of the 13th day of the month falling on Friday is called friggatriskaidekaphobia. If that's too difficult for you, simply call it paraskevidekatriaphobia instead. It means the same thing.

2) Historical records indicate that superstitions about Friday the 13th being unlucky emerged in the 19th century and gained popularityin the 20th. The 1907 publication Thomas W. Lawson's novel Friday, the Thirteenth, may have helped to bring this superstition into mainstream cultural consciousness. This Friday, the Thirteenth was about unscrupulous stockbrokers and did not involve any murdering, as far as I am aware.

3) Both Friday and the number 13 have been considered unlucky for hundreds of years, albeit separately. The idea that Friday is an unlucky day, especially to for new undertakings, springs up for the first time in The Canterbury Tales, which date back to the 14th century. Some have suggested that Friday gets a bad rap because, in the Christian tradition, that's the day when Jesus died.

Makes about as much sense as anything else.

4) Fear of the number 13 dates back to the time of the Vikings. They believed that, if 13 people dined together, one of them would die before the year was out. At some point in the 1800s in the United States, these two superstitions underwent a merger that, like most things in this country, is often blamed on the Freemasons.

They're on your dollar bills, man!

4) By the 1880s, Friday the 13th was A Thing in the United States. On 13 January 1881 (a Friday) the first meeting of The Thirteen Club was held. At this meeting, 13 people rented the 13th room of a venue (a hotel, presumably; Wikipedia doesn't tell me which one), and sat down to eat at 8:13 PM. They entered the room by walking under a ladder and ate among piles of spilled salt, so I guess they didn't need to pass the shaker around. A good time was had by all, nobody died an untimely death and the practice was repeated annually, across the country and by hundreds of people, for the next 40 years. Yet there are still some folks who won't walk under ladders.

The "unlucky" part happens when the painter drops a bucket on your head. ~ Lukeroberts

5) In fact, in the United States alone, 17 to 21 million people fear Friday the 13th , some so much that they won't even get out of bed. It's estimated that businesses in the U.S. lose up to $900 million dollars that day just from people being too pussified to go out and buy things. In the Netherlands, an average of 300 fewer car accidents occur on Friday the 13th, because those 300 people stayed home. So if you have to drive in the Netherlands, do it on Friday the 13th.

Unless you're American, you pussy.