posted 09-13-2002 01:44 PM PT (US)
Here's a post I borrowed from nzdating cos its so damn interesting. Its not in my words or is my viewpoint, I just wanna state that NOW! lol
Did you know:
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, apparently 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).
It's said, that fears surrounding the number 13 are as old as the act of counting. Primitive man had only his 10 fingers and two feet to represent units, so he could not count higher than 12. What lay beyond that – "13" – was an impenetrable, frightening mystery, thus a source of superstition.
Which has a lovely, didactic ring to it, but one is left wondering: Did primitive man not have toes?
In any case, despite whatever terrors the numerical unknown held for their primitive forebears, ancient civilizations were not unanimous in their dread of 13. The Chinese regarded the number as lucky, historians say, as did Egyptians in the time of the pharaohs.
To the Egyptians, life was a quest for spiritual ascension which unfolded in stages – 12 in this life and a thirteenth beyond, thought to be the eternal afterlife. The number 13 therefore symbolized death – not in terms of dust and decay, but as a glorious and desirable transformation.
Egyptian civilization perished, this explanation continues, but the symbolism of the number 13 lived on only to be corrupted by other cultures (the Romans, for example) and bound to a fear of death instead of a reverence for the afterlife. (In Tarot decks the "Death" card bears the number 13 but retains its original, positive meaning: transformation.)
Another explanation suggests the number 13 was purposely vilified by the priests of patriarchal religions because it represented femininity. Thirteen was revered in prehistoric goddess-worshipping cultures because it corresponded to the number of lunar cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). (The "Earth Mother of Laussel," a 27,000-year-old carving near the Lascaux caves in France, depicts a female figure holding a cresent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches.)
One of the more concrete early taboos connected with the number 13 is said to have started with the Hindus, who believed (for reasons I haven't been able to ascertain) that it was always unlucky for 13 people to gather in one place – say, for dinner.
Interestingly enough, exactly the same superstition has been attributed to the Vikings, though many scholars regard this and the accompanying mythological explanation as apocryphal.
In any case, the story has been told as follows:
Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, god of mischief, had been excluded from the guest list but chose to crash the party, bringing the total to 13. True to form, Loki raised hell by inciting Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who happened to be a favorite of the gods.
Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All of Valhalla grieved.
And although one might take the moral of this story to be "Beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe," the Norse themselves supposedly concluded that 13 people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.
As if to prove the point, the Bible tells us there were exactly 13 present at the Last Supper. One of the dinner guests – er, apostles – went on to betray Jesus Christ, setting the stage for the crucifixion.
Did I mention the crucifixion took place on a Friday?
It is said ... 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 debunk the widespread superstition among seamen that sailing on Friday was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned, to be named "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected the crew on a Friday and put her in command of Captain Jim Friday. Finally, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage – on a Friday – and was never seen or heard from again.
Friday got its name from a Norse deity worshipped on the sixth day – either Frigg (goddess of marriage and fertility) or Freya (goddess of sex and fertility) or both, the two having been confused with one another over time. (The etymology of "Friday" is given both ways.) Frigg and/or Freya correspond to Venus, goddess of love of the Romans, who called the sixth day of the week "dies Veneris."
Friday was considered very lucky by pre-Christian Teutonic peoples – especially as a day to get married, because of its associations with love and fertility. All that changed when Christianity came along. The goddess of the sixth day – most likely Freya in this context, given that the cat was her sacred animal – was recast in folklore as a witch, and her day became associated with evil doings.
Many legends developed in that vein, but one is of particular interest. As the story goes, the witches of the north used to observe their sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the witch-goddess, Freya herself, came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group of witches – who numbered 12 at the time – and gave them one of her cats, making it ever afterward a coven of 13.
Needless to say, all this truly happened – and it happened on a Friday – which is why, boys and girls, Friday the 13th is the unluckiest day of the year.