Friday the 13th

by Petra Lessoing
435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Friday the 13th is approaching. Superstitious people are afraid of this day. They see it as a day of bad luck. Some don’t even want to leave their house so nothing can happen to them.

The number 13 is known as a fatal number. Often in hotels and hospitals there is no room number 13, buildings often don’t have a 13th floor and planes don’t have a row 13.

Thirteen is above the symbolic number 12. In former cultures, 12 played an important role. There are 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 months, 12 prophets and 12 apostles. But at the Last Supper, 13 apostles sat together, and Judas, the 13th in the round, betrayed Jesus.

Why is Friday so dangerous? It has to do with Christianity. Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and ever since, Friday has been known as a day of mourning and fasting.
The media has also helped to create fear of Friday the 13th. The crash of the stock exchange happened on Friday the 13th in May 1927, also known as Black Friday. The unsuccessful moon flight of Apollo 13 started at 13:13 on a Friday.

Some big names in world history also avoided the 13th – Napoleon never lead a fight on the 13th, Otto von Bismarck, chancellor of the German Empire, did not sign any contracts that day, Henry Ford never worked on Friday the 13th and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt never sat at a dinner table with 13 guests.

This year has three Fridays falling on the 13th – in February, March and November.