Why Is Friday the 13th Bad Luck?

If you're one of those people who avoid traveling, going to work, eating in a restaurant or signing important documents on Friday the 13th, you have paraskevidekatriaphobia. There is no need to call the doctor. It means a fear of Friday the 13th.

Ever since Christ was crucified on a Friday, many Christians believe the sixth day of the week to be unlucky, reports InfoPlease.com. In addition, 13 brings bad luck because that is the number who attended the Last Supper. But such superstitions go back even further than some 2,000 years ago. Norse mythology also reviled the No. 13. Loki, the most loathed of all the Norse gods crashed a dinner party for 12. As the 13th guest, he was said to cause the death of Balder, the god of light, joy, and reconciliation.

Here are some superstitions about Friday:

  • Never change your bed on a Friday as it will give you bad dreams.
  • If you start a trip on a Friday, you'll have misfortune.
  • Cut your nails on a Friday and you cut them for sorrow.
  • If ships set sail on a Friday, they will have bad luck.
  • Friday is the witches' Sabbath.

Here are some superstitions about the number 13:

  • 13 is the Devil's Dozen.
  • Should 13 people eat dinner together, all will die within the year.
  • Just as many buildings don't have a 13th floor, going right from 12 to 14, many cities don't have a 13th Street or 13th Avenue.
  • If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck. Don't believe it? Count the letters in these infamous names: Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo.
  • There are 13 witches in a coven.

So why is Friday the 13th unlucky? The best-selling novel, "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown describes a popular theory that claims it is due to a single historical event that happened 700 years ago: the decimation of the Knights Templar. This legendary order of warrior monks, first formed during the Christian Crusades to battle Islam, was so powerful by the 1300s that it was seen as a political threat to kings and the pope, reports About.com.

Katharine Kurtz writes in "Tales of the Knights Templar":
"On October 13, 1307, a day so infamous that Friday the 13th would become a synonym for ill fortune, officers of King Philip IV of France carried out mass arrests in a well-coordinated dawn raid that left several thousand Templars--knights, sergeants, priests and serving brethren--in chains, charged with heresy, blasphemy, various obscenities and homosexual practices. None of these charges was ever proven, even in France--and the Order was found innocent elsewhere--but in the seven years following the arrests, hundreds of Templars suffered excruciating tortures intended to force 'confessions,' and more than a hundred died under torture or were executed by burning at the stake."

--From the Editors at Netscape

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