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  • Writer's pictureBroadway Church

Friday the Thirteenth Superstitions

Today is Friday the Thirteenth, a day that is associated with bad luck. The fear of the number thirteen can be so strong that it is classified as a phobia: triskaidekaphobia.

There isn’t a clear origin story about Friday the Thirteenth. The belief about the number thirteen traces back to the Code of Hammurabi, a Babylonian legal document that did not have a thirteenth law. Now, this omission is thought to be a mistake instead of an intentional choice.

Another root of the unlucky thirteen comes from Christianity. Jesus’s Last Supper was attended by thirteen people - Jesus and his twelve disciples. That is the night Jesus was betrayed, making the number thirteen a bad omen. This number in combination with Friday as the day of Jesus’s crucifixion gives us Friday the Thirteenth in a Christian context.

Fervor about Friday the Thirteenth is largely a product of the Twentieth Century, fed by fictional novels and movies. From a psychological perspective, superstition is thought to be a way of controlling fate. The number thirteen itself is just a number. As with most things, we get to choose what meanings we associate with it. In religions outside of Christianity, thirteen can be a lucky number associated with divinity, including the divine feminine.

Perhaps a positive ritual on Friday the Thirteenth would create a positive outcome. What’s your reaction to the number thirteen? Do you notice when a Friday is the thirteenth? What does it mean to you?

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