Writing Prompts: Friday the 13th

Dun dun dun! Friday the 13th is a date that has become associated with bad luck, but why? What is the history behind a date that’s become so feared?

There’s the number 13. 13 has long held significance as a bad number. There is an event in Norse mythology, featuring a gathering of 12 gods. The 13th god to join them happens to be Loki, who arranges for the death of Baldr, an event that plunges the world into darkness. There are number of connections to Christianity, relating to the number of people at the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion. However, Friday the 13th is considered unlucky only to certain countries. In Greece, Tuesday the 13th is seen as the unluckiest occasion, as it is in Hispanic cultures, whilst in Italy, Friday the 17th is considered unlucky.

It has been suggested that the true reason the Western World has such a bee in its bonnet about Friday the 13th is to do with the Knights Templar. Author Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code popularised the idea that there was a mass arrest of the Knights on Friday the 13th, but it appears the modern source of the superstition is a book, first published in 1907, by one Thomas William Lawson. This book, Friday the Thirteenth, is about a plot to crash financial markets.

Is any of this likely to cure people of superstitious beliefs in Friday the 13th’s bad luck? Probably not. Nor would it matter to point that there is no evidence to support more accidents or incidents on Friday the 13th. However, hopefully, the reality of the date will make some people realise that in the end, Friday the 13th is just a day.

(Falls down a manhole cover)

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