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Archive for April 13, 2012


What are superstitions, really? Most of them (if not all) have their basis in fear. Today is Friday, the 13th. Slasher movies have been made around it, where the terrifying Jason in the hockey mask with a chain saw set at a summer campground. Or am I mixing it up with other movies?

According to Wikipedia (I almost typed in wicked – pedia, LOL): Friday the 13th is a 1980 American slasher horror film directed by Sean S. Cunningham and written by Victor Miller. The film concerns a group of teenagers who are murdered one-by-one while attempting to re-open an abandoned campsite and stars Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Harry Crosby, and Kevin Bacon in one of his earliest roles. Lucky break for Kevin Bacon, I would say.

Friday the 13th, inspired by the success of John Carpenter’s Halloween, was made on an estimated budget of $550,000. Released by Paramount Pictures in the United States and Warner Bros. Internationally, the film received negative reviews from film critics, but grossed over $39.7 million at the box office in the United States, and went on to become one of the most-profitable slasher films in cinema history (Wikipedia). You could say, Friday the 13th was a lucky movie in its ability to gross so much money from a smallish budget. 

Besides the slasher movie and its sequels, Friday and the number 13 are simply a couple more things people fear put together. The number 13 has been notoriously considered an unlucky number. Here are numerous of examples of how this has been demonstrated: More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor. Many airports skip the 13th gate. Airplanes have no 13th aisle. Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.  And, then there is the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.

Friday has been considered an unlucky day since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys, begin new projects or deploy releases in production. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s (Wikipedia). Here are some wives’ tales: A bed changed on Friday will bring bad dreams. Any ship that sails on Friday will have bad luck. Never start to make a garment on Friday unless you can finish it the same day.

If you have major surgery scheduled, it has been suggested that you may want it earlier in the week, and to avoid Fridays. If complications arise from the surgery, these can be taken care of more quickly if you have surgery scheduled earlier in the week. Also, too often, people are tired by the end of their work week. They are looking forward to their weekend and are less focused. It makes no difference what a person’s field of expertise is (medical or otherwise), at the end of a work week there is a tendency to be less focus on the work at hand. 

Why has Friday the 13th been regarded as bad luck? One explanation is that both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose. In numerology, the number 12 has been regarded with completeness: 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13’s association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.

Ultimately, we make our own luck by what we choose to believe. Of course, if something unfortunate happens today, we can blame it on being Friday the 13th.

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