Saturday, 21 May 2011
Who's Afraid of the Date?
So, this month we have a Friday the Thirteenth. Does this worry you? Will you be unable to leave your house in case of disaster? They do say that more accidents occur in the home than anywhere else, though, so that might not be the best plan.
Far from being an ancient piece of folklore, this one seems to be most definitely a more recent phenomenon. Snopes has the earliest reference in the US as 1908 and in the UK 1913, although there are plenty of earlier references for Friday and the number 13 being independently unlucky. Many sources link these to Christian events, such as Christ being crucified on a Friday, Judas being the thirteenth at the Last Supper, Eve tempting Adam on a Friday and so on. I've also heard that thirteen is a number associated with witches because a year holds thirteen full moons (or any other stage of moon cycle, of course...).
Interestingly, I also read that in some places, Friday the Thirteenths see fewer accidents than other days - and this is ascribed to people being extra careful because of the date. So perhaps it's a good thing after all, and we should be worried every day. Or perhaps not.