“He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that one Friday 13th of November he died.” – The Life of Rossini
It’s Friday the 13th and people everywhere are rushing about warning others about their impending demises and playing their Ratatosk-like parts to help along the self-fulfilling prophecy of the power of suggestion in any way they can.
However, where did we even get this idea that this particular day is unlucky? There is no written evidence of an unlucky “Friday, the 13th” prior to the nineteenth century. There are two reasons for this. One, the “unluckiness” of the date arose through various misconceptions, such as the one mentioned in the quote above, which details the personal feelings of a single man and the coincidence of his death, which superstitious individuals will liken to an omen.
And secondly, for thousands of years, the number 13 was considered a lucky – and in fact, holy – number, not an unlucky number. While it’s true that Zoroastrianism claimed 13 to be wicked, the small religion of the Coperos in Brazil considered 13 to be a God number and in fact, “All Coperos must know that this number can save humankind.” (There’s a book in there somewhere, I just know it.) In Judaism, 13 is the age where a boy becomes a man. There were 13 people at Jesus’s table during the last supper, and many religions have one prophet with twelve followers, totaling – yes, you did the math right – 13. There are 13 people in a Wiccan coven. 13 is a very special and powerful number for women as well, since there are 13 menstrual cycles in a year. Because of this, 13 has long believed to represent femininity.
In Spanish speaking countries, Tuesday the 13th is unlucky. And in Italy? Friday the 17th. In Japan, April 4th is unlucky because the number four is pronounced the same as the word for “death.” The same holds for China.
Did you know that scientists have studied tragic and unfortunate events throughout history in detail, determining that these “unlucky” days, including Friday the 13th have shown no greater tendency toward disaster than any other day of the year? There’s no difference other than the one in your head. Basically, if you try hard enough you can pick any day of the week and match it with any number between 1 and 31 and back up your claim that it is “unlucky” simply by doing a search online.
Personally, Friday has always been my favorite day of the week, even more so than Saturday. Who says “Thank God it’s Saturday?” Nope, it’s Friday we’re all thankful for. The end of the rush and the chaos and the sleepless zombi-fied work-a-day. We can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I love Fridays.
And 13? Heck, it’s a Baker’s Dozen. What’s more lucky than finding an extra – and free – donut at the bottom of the bag? ☺