The Number 13 and Friday: An Unlucky Combo

How did Friday the 13th come to be so revered as an unlucky day? Check out some of these fun facts below ….

Norse MythologyLoki Bound: There were 12 gods gathered at a feast when Loki, the trickster god, entered. Balder, who was protected against all forms of wood, with the one exception of mistletoe by his mother Frigg. Because he loved chaos, Loki tricked the blind god, Hod to throw mistletoe at Balder. Hod ended up throwing it through Balder’s heart which killed him. From this act, Odin foresees Loki’s role in the “Twilight of the Gods” and the end of the world and punishes Loki by chaining him to a rock.

Knights Templar: the arrest of Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, did occur on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307. On Friday the 13th in 1307, thousands of Knights Templar were arrested on orders from King Philip IV of France because of suspicions that their secret initiation rituals made them “enemies of the faith.” After years of torture, they were burned at the stake. Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code popularized the link between the Knights Templar and Friday the 13th.

Christianity: Judas was the 13th person to come to the Last Supper. Friday is considered to be the day that the crucifixion took place on.

Muslim: Eve is said to have tempted Adam on a Friday.

Another states that the superstition regarding Friday comes from Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales,” published in the 14th century, where Friday is considered a day of misfortune and ill luck “on a Friday fell all this mischance.”

Witches Covens have 13 members (12 witches and the Devil). Friday is the day of the Witches’ Sabbath

Friday was for many years the day of execution of criminals, commonly called “hangman’s day” in Britain.

There is a phobia known as friggatriskaidekaphobia. The word comes from “Frigga,” the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named, and “triskaidekaphobia,” or fear of the number thirteen. It is also sometimes called “paraskevidekatriaphobia,” from the Greek “Paraskevi” for Friday, “Dekatreis” for thirteen and “phobia” for fear.

In fact, the number 13 has been considered cursed across the world for thousands of years. The number 12 is historically considered the number of completeness. There are 12 months of the year, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 hours of the clock, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles of Jesus, 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams, among many incidences of the pattern historically.

Rex, J. (2000). It’s Friday the 13th, a day with a history. Advertiser, The (Adelaide).

International Business, T. (2012). Friday the 13th: History, Origins, Myths and Superstitions of the Unlucky Day. International Business Times.


2015 Award Winners and Finalists

medalsStop by the Library this month to check out our display filled with current and previous winners of book awards or continue reading to see this years winners and finalists.

Pulitzer Prize:

Honoring excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917.

National Book Award:

Celebrating the best of American literature and enhancing the cultural value of great writing in America.

Nobel Prize for Literature:

Awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words of the will of Alfred Nobel, produced “in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.”

Man Booker Prize:

The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. The prize is the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and publishers.

National Book Critics Circle Award:

The National Book Critics Circle honors outstanding writing and fosters a national conversation about reading, criticism and literature.

Caldecott and Newbery Medal:

The Caldecott Medal annually recognizes the preceding year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children” and the Newbery Medal is awarded to “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”.