13 Apr 2012

IT'S FRIDAY THE 13TH.


Well, having arrived at Pen and Paper you'll either be disappointed/pleased/not bothered either way (delete as applicable) to discover that this is a post about Friday the 13th the day and not Friday the 13th the movie.

Are you a Paraskevidekatriaphobics? A what? I hear you ask. A Paraskevidekatriaphobics ....... otherwise known as a person afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. OR do you suffer from Friggatriskaidekaphobia, a fear of Friday the 13th?

If so you probably won't be too surprised to know that here in the UK the British Medical Journal published a study in 1993 which, over several years, compared the ratio of traffic volume to the number of automobile accidents on two different days, Friday the 6th and Friday the 13th.

Incredibly, they found that in the region sampled, while consistently fewer people chose to drive their cars on Friday the 13th, the number of hospital admissions due to vehicular accidents was significantly higher than on "normal" Fridays.

Their conclusion?

"Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended."

Not so much a post about a character based in folk lore as a post on a whole day seeped in folk lore, mythology and superstition. Yes, as if the heading wasn't clue enough, today's post is all about (cue scary music) ........

As accident prone as I am (see HERE if you don't believe me) thank goodness I'm not too worried by this date. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not without my superstitions (no walking under ladders or putting umbrellas up indoors and I always throw a pinch of spilt salt over my shoulder) but this just isn't one of them.

Where did our fear of the date come from though?

Well,  way back when pussy was a kitten (one of my nana's expression meaning a long, long time ago) both the sixth day of the week (IE Friday) and the number 13 had formidable reputations - quite why I'm not too sure though it could be that in numerology the number twelve is considered the number of completeness whereas the number thirteen is irregular and therefore transgresses this completeness. Whilst a Friday, some suggest is an unlucky day because, believed by some to be the witches' Sabbath, it is sometimes regarded as the day in which, every week, twelve witches and the devil met - 13 evil spirits in total. OR is it as some Christians suggest unlucky because this was the day on which Christ was believed to have been crucified?

And then again ........

Some would say its origins go back even further, way back to a Norse myth which saw twelve gods having a feast in Valhalla (the hall of Odin into which the souls of heroes slain in battle and others who have died bravely are received) when the mischievous Loki (A major Norse Deity, the son of a giant and giantess, he is connected with fire and magic and is said to be crafty, malicious, but  also heroic) arrived as the 13th uninvited guest, arranging for Hod (blind God of darkness) to kill Balder (God of joy and gladness) with a mistletoe tipped arrow plunging Earth into darkness and mourning as a result.

Either way Friday the 13th has long been considered a day of ill omen, oh and just to worry you more there are not just one, not just two BUT three Friday the 13th's this year - one of which occurred in January, today, and the last one, in July. AND scarier still ....... did you know the last Friday the 13th was 13 weeks ago and the next is in 13 weeks? Still, at least those of you born on Friday the 13th can relax as today is said to be your lucky day.

Anyway, this being (in part) a book blog I thought I'd conclude with the following .........

  • The fact that the earliest documented reference to Friday the 13th in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards' 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini.
  • THIS 'NOVEL' QUIZ which tests your knowledge of the fiendish in fiction. (I didn't do very well, scoring only 6 out of, well, what else but 13).

11 comments:

themethatisme said...

Don't know where you got the crucifixion reference from but glad to inform you that it's complete nonsense. The christian reference point for Friday 13th was the arrests, torture and execution of The Knights Templar on the order of King Phillip of France.

naida said...

Thanks for this interesting post! I myself am not spooked by the number 13 since my daughter was born on the 13th. But I always found it odd that there is never a 13th floor in buildings. The elevator always goes from 12 to 14

Suko said...

Fabulous, timely (duh!) post! Is 13 one of those "trick numbers" like 9? Probably not, but I've always felt that Friday the 13th was a lucky day for me (though not my birthday), although I don't want to jinx it now by mentioning it--oops!

Dorte H said...

Nope, I´m not. And I knew exactly what it was - because a Danish blogger informed me two hours ago.

But I agree with her: Friday means weekend, a fact which should be celebrated!!!! :)

Kelly said...

I've never been particularly superstitious, so Friday the 13th has never bothered me. My sister loves it - today is her birthday! (though she was actually born on Thursday the 13th)

Marinela said...

Interesting post as always :)

I hope you had a great Easter, Petty

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I don't mind 13. Actually in some cultures it's considered lucky. So, having the choice, I'll see it as lucky. I mean the roadways are less crowded! LOL

Claudine G. said...

I almost wrote a post on Friday the 13th this week, too! I've heard about witches being linked to Fridays but I'm not too superstitious (I knock on wood sometimes). In fact, yesterday (Fri 13th) turned out to be an excellent day for me. :)

anilkurup said...

My fear of the 13th, Friday is when I think of the film. Nothing beyond. But quite interesting to note how matters such as these play in human mind.

Haddock said...

For many its the weekend, but for me its not as we work 6 days a week :-)

carol said...

Friday was my husband's birthday - and he is superstition. I think he actually briefly considered staying home and in bed rather than going to work. He always refers to the one year when he was younger and his birthday was on a Firda. He got his hand shut in a car door and I think broke a couple fingers.