ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE “F” WORD?
I was born on the Friday, October 13th, 19…never mind the year. I love being born on this day, especially in October – although I have to wait until 2017 for my birthday to fall on a Friday again, - it's a lucky day for me. Autumn is my favorite season and I consider October the supreme month of the supernatural. No wonder I like to read and write about the paranormal.
One day I decided to do a little research about Friday, the number thirteen and the superstitions behind it.
There are many names given to those who have a fear of the day, all of them long and unpronounceable, but Friggatriskaidekaphobia is the original Scandinavian word.
The English word Friday is derived from the ancient Norse love goddess and wife of Odin, Frigga. Legend tells us she threw a banquet with twelve Gods in attendance, purposely not inviting Loki the God of Mischief. He crashed the party anyway, making the number of guests thirteen. Chaos ensued. Food and mistletoe were wielded at each other and in the end, the God Balder the Good, was dead.
The Goddess Frigga
Why does the sixth day of the week get a bad rap? We can go back once again to goddess Frigga for a partial explanation. The Germanic pagan tribes worshipped her on Friday. Early Christians thought her a witch and declared Friday the witch’s Sabbath. Crucifixion day in Rome? Yep, Friday.
The number thirteen’s history is more involved. For reasons that aren’t exactly clear, twelve was believed to be a complete number. There are twelve months in a year, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel and twelve disciples of Jesus. Thirteen, considered an imperfect number, may have pagan roots. Many nature-based religions worshipped the moon as well as the sun. There are thirteen lunar cycles and women with a regular period will have thirteen menstrual cycles a year. To pagans who worshipped both Gods and Goddesses, the moon represented the feminine. Back in the day, the Abrahamic religions weren’t keen on giving women power, spiritual or otherwise.
There are many other legends behind the trepidation of the day and all of them available on Google.
It's such a fun day, I usually incorporate the date into my stories. In SOLSTICE, a major part of the curse on the hero's head happens on Friday, the 13th.