Friday, May 13, 2016
Friday the 13th in history and fiction
Though folklorists claim there is no written evidence for the superstition before the nineteenth century, the date has long been connected to notorious events in history and religion.
According to Catholic belief, one of the most significant events in their religion - the crucifixion of Jesus Christ - took place on Friday the 13th.
Geoffrey Chaucer also made reference to the apparent unluckiness of the day, recording in his Canterbury Tales that it was bad luck to start a journey or a project on a Friday.
One of the most popularized myths attempting to explain the origin of the Friday 13 superstition stems from events on Friday 13 October 1307, when hundreds of Knights Templar were arrested and burnt across France.
This myth caught the public’s attention after it was used by Dan Brown, among other historical fiction writers, and has been peddled endlessly by conspiracy theorists linking the Knights Templar to everything from Freemasonry to the Holy Grail.
The origins of Triskaidekaphobia – the fear of the number 13 – could be traced back to the 19th century belief that Judas Iscariot sat in the 13th place at Jesus’s table at the Last Supper.
Along with Jesus, there were 12 disciples at this meal, and Judas has come to represent betrayal and bad luck in Western societies. Even if there is no direct biblical evidence linking Judas to the 13th place at the table, the number of guests at the Last Supper and its significance in the Christian religion could have been enough to cement the idea of 13 as an unlucky number in Western cultures, particularly if this idea was promoted by the superstitious Victorians.
Posted by Barbara at 7:15 AM