Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th, the most widespread superstition

LEGEND HAS IT: If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894). Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don't have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names). There are 13 witches in a coven.

How many of you just counted the letters in your name?

Still other sources speculate that the number 13 may have been purposely vilified by the founders of patriarchal religions in the early days of western civilization because it represented femininity. Thirteen had been revered in prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures, we are told, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). The "Earth Mother of Laussel," for example — a 27,000-year-old carving found near the Lascaux caves in France often cited as an icon of matriarchal spirituality — depicts a female figure holding a cresent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches. As the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar with the rise of male-dominated civilization, it is surmised, so did the "perfect" number 12 over the "imperfect" number 13, thereafter considered anathema.

LOKI - The God of Mischief
Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to 13. True to character, Loki raised hell by inciting Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved. And although one might take the moral of this story to be "Beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe," the Norse themselves apparently concluded that 13 people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.

What exactly would be good etiquette if one of 7 couples invited to dinner shows up without their date?

LEGEND HAS IT: Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams. Don't start a trip on Friday or you will have misfortune. If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow. Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck – as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday ... One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell once and for all the widespread superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned, named "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday, and was never seen or heard from again.



dave hambidge said...

I just counted, a guess what, THIRTEEN letters. I had not previously know that thanks YnB now I know I am fated.

Bearman said...

I never understood the whole 13th floor thing. It still is the 13th floor even if you put up a sign that says 14.

yorksnbeans said...

Dave....I deliberately haven't counted!'s a mind f*ck...that's all.

KaLynn said...

What a great read! Most of this I didn't know! I figure 13 is just another number/day, even if it falls on a Friday.

Have a Happy Friday the 13th!

Duncanr said...

Jeez, you're a bundle of joy today, YnB ;-)

Anonymous said...

Is that your first and last name, or just your first name?

Oh, and given names or nicknames?

Sorry, lots of questions...but my fate depends on it...

yorksnbeans said...

Very good questions. Unfortunately, I do not have the answers. If I were you, Ying, instead of me, Yang, I would most definitely not count the letters in any of your names. Since Ying is only 4 - just leave it at that. ;-)

Andy Holroyd said...

Yes, I counted:
Andy Holroyd = 11 (Safe)

Andrew Holroyd = 13 (Doomed)

But my full name is :
John Andrew Holroyd = 17 (Phew! Safe again)

Triskadecaphobia and paraskavedekatriaphobia, are strange phenomena which do seem to impact on people's lives.

Nah then, where's me lucky leprechaun's penis?

FJ said...

Twelve on the nose, I guess I'm not a serial killer.

yorksnbeans said...

Andy...I would stick to #1 & #3. Forget #2! :-)

FJ...even your user name is safe! :-)

nonnie9999 said...

my grandfather (may he rest in peace) always believed that friday the 13th was his lucky day, and he lived to the ripe old age of 96. of course, he had 15 letters in his name, so maybe that helped.

yorksnbeans said...

Nons...he was a smart man!!

Matty said...

Yikes.........13 letters in my first and last name. I'm off to the courthouse to officially change it.

yorksnbeans said...

Uh, oh...and Matty you were the 13th commenter!!