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Published:September 28th, 2006 08:01 EST
Friday the 13th, Friend or Foe?

Friday the 13th, Friend or Foe?

By Amanda Carver

"Now Friday came, you old wives say, of all the weeks the unluckiest day."  . This little gem first fell from the lips of some cynical bloke way back in 1656.  Now here we are, some 350 years later, and our opinion of Friday has done a 180 degree turn. No longer do we, as a culture, dread the coming of week`s end.  Friday is now the most glorious of days!  It not only signals the end of the workweek, but for many, it is payday and the start of a well deserved rest.  Who hasn`t shouted TGIF! " at least once as they skipped out the door on a Friday afternoon?  I say it all the time, then head off to my favorite restaurant.  You guessed it, TGI Friday`s ". 

Some Friday`s, however, fall far from the mark.  Occasionally, the 13th of the month lands on a Friday and all hell breaks loose.  People dread the coming of the day and give a great sigh of relief when it`s over.  People with paraskavedekatriaphobia, or a fear of Friday the 13th, refuse to go to work and take shelter in their homes. It`s Friday.  It`s the 13th day of the month.  Why all the hoopla?  It`s just another day "right?

Depending on where you look, just about every past civilization and religion had a problem with Friday and the number 13.  Jesus had 12 apostles at the Last Supper and it was going great, then Judas, the apostle that betrayed him showed up. Yep, Judas was number 13 and we all know how that ended.  Jesus was crucified on a Friday.  Adam and Eve ate fruit on Friday. The Great Flood began on a Friday.  Friday has not been a very good day for Christians.

The Knights Templar were arrested, tortured and executed by the Inquisition on charges of heresy...on a Friday, the 13th.

Sailors are especially suspicious of Friday and have often refused to go out on that day.  Some even say, A Friday`s sail, always fail ".  In the 1800`s, the British Navy launched the H.M.S. Friday.  The crew was chosen on a Friday, the ship set sail on a Friday.  The Captain was Jim Friday.  The ship was launched that foggy, Friday morning and has not been seen since.

Throughout history, anything done on a Friday was a bad deal.  From crops to harvesting, to voyages, to hearing news from a neighbor, Friday was just not the day to do it.  It has even been rumored that Princess Margaret`s birth registration was delayed so as not to be the 13th.

Are we, now, really as superstitious as our beloved ancestors?  I wonder.  Multiplication tables in schools stops at 12 times 12.  Buildings stretch farther into the sky than ever before, but there is no 13th floor.  Good luck checking into a hotel and asking for room 13.  Why are we so afraid of this number, this day?

I think it`s ingrained, conditioned. We grow up hearing about unlucky number 13.  Friday the 13th always whips people into a frenzy. It`s become symbolic, I suppose. Just another number, meaning nothing really, yet we are taught to fear it.  We learn to associate bad things with that day.  Get a flat on the 13th, loose your keys on the 13th and it must be the day itself, toying with you.

I wish there was some truth to Friday the 13th.  Not that I welcome bad luck, mind you, it would just be nice to have a date, to know when it is coming. To be able to schedule around my bad luck, in advance.  As it is now, misfortune finds me no matter the date, time, or temperature and I really don`t think poor old 13 has anything to do with it.