It’s Friday the 13th , notoriously dubbed the unluckiest day of the year.
For ages, the No. 13 has been considered unlucky in numerous cultures. Primitive man had only his 10 fingers and two feet to represent units, so he could not count higher than 12. What lay beyond that — 13 — was an impenetrable mystery, hence an object of superstition.
To the ancient Egyptians, 13 was the death number. They believed there were 12 stages to life — one for each month. Therefore, the number beyond 12 represented death.
Over the years, a word, triskaidekaphobia, was coined to describe people afraid of the No. 13. People afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th are known as paraskevidekatriaphobics.
But 13 was actually cherished by some prehistoric cultures that worshipped Gaia, the Earth goddess. Thirteen was mystical to these early goddess worshippers because it represented the number of menstrual cycles a woman has in one year.
When Christianity was struggling to take hold, its leaders realized they had to vilify everything feminine or goddess-related if they were going to push out pagan religion.
They started by turning the lucky 13 of the goddess sects on its head and calling it unlucky. Their rationale for this flip-flop? There were 13 present at the Last Supper.
Friday was added to the mix because that’s the day of the week Christ was executed.
Christian theologists also claim Friday was the day the serpent tempted Eve with an apple in the Garden of Eden.
And in ancient Rome, Friday was execution day.
Later, in Britain, all hangings were performed on Friday . For many years, the Brits knew Friday as “Hangman’s Day.” A more specific and synchronistic example of Friday the 13th representing misfortune occurred when the Knights Templar were rounded up and executed. The Knights Templar was a famous order of fighting monks formed during the Crusades to battle Islam.
But Christian kings and church leaders felt threatened as the Knights Templar became more and more powerful.
So, 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 homosexuality.
More than 100 Knights Templar were executed following the arrest order, which was issued on a Friday the 13th , 1307.
So there you have it — and good luck today.