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Published on May 13th, 2011 | by Julia

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History Lesson: Friday the 13th

Are you a friggatriskaidekaphobic?

Are you feeling anxious, afraid, nervous? You might just have friggatriskaidekaphobia – the fear of Friday the 13th.

Seems irrational (to say the least). So were did it start?

Historically, Friday has been an unlucky day – and the number 13 is also considered bad luck. Put ‘em together, and Friday the 13th seems like a disaster waiting to happen.

There are lots of theories about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition. Here are a few:

- According to Christian belief, the Last Supper was attended by Jesus and his 12 apostles. The 13th member was said to be Judas the Betrayer. Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

- In Norse mythology, the goddess of love and fertility, “Frigga” (named for Friday) was banished to a mountain when the Norse tribes converted to Christianity. She was labeled a witch. It is said that, every Friday, she gathered with 11 other witches and the devil (totaling 13!) to plot ill turns of fate for the week. (theory by Charles Panati)

- On Friday, October 13th, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrests of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templars, and sixty of his senior knights and others in the country. He tortured the Templars to make them “confess” to supposed wrongdoings. Most were killed.

Just a few reasons to watch your step!

FUN FACT: Ever heard of HMS Friday? A ship that set sail on Friday the 13th and was never seen again? It was an attempt made by the Royal Navy to dispel the superstition against sailing on Friday.

In actuality, the HMS Friday never existed! But the story is often told as fact.

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