Friday the 13th

(C) 2019 JJ Shaun

Today is Friday, the thirteenth day of December. Many in Western cultures consider this day to be unlucky, and some people suffer from triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number 13.

Many theories exist as to why Friday the 13th is considered a day of misfortune. Some folks regard the number of attendees of the Last Supper to be unlucky. Some ideas relate to an old belief by many Italians that Fridays are unlucky days. Another suggestion is that on Friday, October 13th, 1307, King Philip of France decimated the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, the Knights Templar.

Then again, other theories go in different directions. Thirteen Moons in a year turned into a conundrum for the monks maintaining solar calendars because the lunar year is a tad different than the solar year. Worship of the “divine feminine” in ancient cultures fell into disrepute as the solar calendar took precedence. Then there is the theory that the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi omitted the thirteenth Code of Law, when, in fact, the original Code is not numbered.

Because superstition surrounding the number thirteen is so strong in American mainstream culture, many skyscrapers do not have a thirteenth floor. Italy considers the number 13 to be a lucky number and 17 to be unlucky.

The United States was founded with thirteen colonies, as reflected by the combined number of red and white stripes on its flag. Thirteen stars exist on the Great Seal of the United States. The eagle in the Great Seal holds thirteen arrows in its left talon to represent the original thirteen states. In its right talon, the eagle grasps an olive branch, with thirteen leaves, again representing the states.

The olive branch symbolizes the wish for peace, and the eagle looks to the right, to the olive branch as its preferred path. In its beak, the eagle holds a scroll that reads “E Pluribus Unum”—Out of Many, One, a thirteen letter motto. The arrows symbolize the readiness to fight if necessary.

Friday the Thirteenth means many things to many people. For me, it’s just another day. What does it mean to you?


Note to Readers: I apologize for the brevity of my posts these days. First Reader is recovering slowly, and I have more household responsibilities for the moment. Thanks for your understanding.

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