Mason’s Musings October 13th, 2023
Happy Friday the 13th everybody! Make sure you stay safe today. Don’t cross any black cats or walk under any ladders or else your luck might just turn sour. What an ominous day for this week’s Mason’s Musings! I’ve always wondered, why is Friday the 13th associated with so much misfortune and bad luck? Well for everyone reading who’s wondered the same thing buckle up because the story of the number 13 and Friday the 13th seemingly goes as far back as the story of Adam and Eve!
The panic and fear surrounding Friday the 13th has been around seemingly forever. It’s been around so long that it’s considered a legitimate phobia and has its own name, paraskevidekatriaphobia (try saying that three times fast!). What I found most interesting is that America is one of only a few countries that dreads Friday the 13th. In Spanish speaking countries and the Greek isles, the day of bad luck is Tuesday the 13th. Meanwhile in Italy it’s Friday the 17th; in China, it’s April 4th. In Japan they fear September 9th, and in India they are wary of August 8th.
The number 13’s bad reputation has been traced back to numerous stories spanning the ages. Before the persecution of the Pagans at the hands of Christians the reason for 13’s status as a bad omen came from Norse mythology. The story goes that Loki, mischief god of trickery, crashed a dinner banquet that was being held in Valhalla. There were 12 gods in attendance, with Loki’s abrupt entrance making it 13. Due to Loki’s deception, Balder, the god of light, joy and goodness, was killed by a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Thus cementing 13’s status as a portent of doom, gloom and misfortune.
However, when Christians got wise to the pagan’s “heretical” beliefs they subsequently slew or reformed any who opposed the word of God. The story behind number 13’s negative connotations was changed to that of Judas Iscariot and Good Friday. Judas Iscariot, betrayer to Jesus Christ and one of his 12 apostles was the 13th and last guest to show up in the biblical story of the last supper. This betrayal at the last supper led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, thereby tying Friday and the number 13 together in unlucky matrimony. Many people believe that Friday was the day that Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden, and the day the Ark set sail on the great flood.
More modern-day depictions of Friday the 13th have come in the form of books and movies. In the 1907 book by Thomas W. Lawson entitled simply Friday the 13th, wherein the main character uses the fear of Friday the 13th to dominate the stock market and Wall Street. Of course, how could anyone forget our favorite hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding horror sensation of the 80’s, Jason from the “Friday the 13th” movies?
Well, now that you know the history, does that make Friday the 13th a little less scary for you all? To be honest though, it doesn’t help that many tragedies have occurred on this seemingly unlucky day. But hey at least it’s Taylor Swift’s lucky number, so maybe that will help alleviate its bad “REPUTATION”. Anyway, I hope you all have a safe and happy day today. Before I send you off, here’s a four-leaf clover just for a little extra luck.
Library Events 10/13-10/20:
Friday October 13th – Friday Free Play! Preschoolers and their adults are invited to come to the library for a free play time every Friday 11 AM to Noon! Toys are changed out monthly.
Wednesday October 18th – Children’s Hour with Ms. Katie! Bring the little ones for story time with Ms. Katie. Stories, songs, activities, and crafts are all part of the fun. Children’s Hour starts at 10:00 AM and occurs every Wednesday of each month (excluding January and August).
Thursday October 19th – Book Club with Librarian Katrina! Come down for a friendly discussion and dissection of this month’s book, The Hacienda by Isabel Canas. Book Club starts at 6:30 PM every second Thursday of each month. (Book Club will be meeting on the third Thursday for this month only. Next month will resume the regular schedule of every second Thursday)
Friday October 20th – Friday Free Play! Preschoolers and their adults are invited to come to the library for a free play time every Friday 11 AM to Noon! Toys are changed out monthly.