Thursday, July 12, 2007

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th, the famous superstition in the Western culture that it is deemed a very unlucky day and that unfortunate events may occur or misfortune may befall anyone.
How did this folklore or story originate?
In Eastern culture, on the contrary, particularly in the Chinese community believe that the number 1 and 3 are good; in fact, the combination is an auspicious number and brings the meaning of livelihood.

I have done some findings through various sources; including Wikipedia to Urban Legends, and I have compiled some of the myths and stories that were linked to how Friday the 13th came about...

It seems that this belief goes all the way back to the time of the Last Supper and also stems from the Christianity roots of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, etc.
At the famous Last Supper, it seems that there were 13 at the table; Jesus and his 12 disciples.
Thirteen gathered in the upper room on the night of the Last Supper. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve.
And on that night itself, Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples...and during dinner, he has famously uttered these words, "Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.' (Mark 14: 17-18).
Jesus answered them, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas Iscariot . . for he it was that should betray him. (John 6: 70-71).

Also, Jesus's death and crucifixion falls on a Friday....the Good Friday now becomes an unlucky Friday? Well, it was a mourning day as our Lord died on that day but it is also coined with the origins of the bad luck that comes along with that day, termed as the sixth day of the week.
In fact, this belief was so profound that any child that was born on a Friday is predicted of a bad life; doomed to misfortune. Courting and marriage should also be avoided on this day; at all costs, and one should not consume butter and eggs that were churned and laid on that day. Even moving house or starting a new job (reporting to a new office, etc) should not take place on that day.
And of course, travelling is forbidden as well.....following the fishermen's saying, "A Friday's sail, always fail"

Such strong were these beliefs on the date and day itself that Western folks would not stay in room No.13 or a house numbered 13 (rather 12 1/2) and even hotels and inns will not number their rooms or floors with the number 13. One of the famous examples was the Cavendish Hotel in London which was completed in the year 1966, where there was no 13th floor to be found.
Some people will go to the extent of refusing to go to work on this day for fear of mishap or bad luck to befall them.

Another source; or rather, one of the main sources was the famous story of the Knights of the Templar which originated from the King of France; King Philip IV of France who carried out a mass arrest and forcing charges down those innocent people; causing a public and nationwide humiliation which remains strong in the memories of the county until today. That date was infamously the Friday the 13th; October 13, 1307.
*Knights of the Templar - was the famous legendary order of monks...or warriors in the holy serving who gathered together during the Crusades war; as part of the Christian army to battle against the Islams. They gained their fame and respect through their invasive and undying fighting spirit and were renowned as a strong force and fighter team for more than 200 years.
Such strong was their influence that they were viewed or treated as political threats to kings and the monarchs,popes or government in power by 1300s.
The fall of the Knights of the Templar was caused by the conspiracy kindled by the church-state political struggle.
Back then the King of France was King Philip IV, also popularly known as Philip le Bel, the Beautiful who ruled the kingdom and constantly running into financial problems which led him to resort to all sorts of methods to obtain money for his needs; including swindling and even stealing money and properties. He has also acted on arresting the Jews which in turn return a degradation in his currency, and as a result, everyone suffered for the economy crisis.
The King then later resorted to taxing the church; run by Pope Boniface VIII at that time.
War broke out openly between the roal and the Churhc at that time, whereby the Pope forbade the tax on the church by declaring and signing a dictum.
Subsequently, the King put a halt on Rome's financial supply when he drew the line and closed the borders; banning the export of gold bullion to Rome.
If that's not enough, he decided to disgrace the Church through the arresting of the bishop of Pamiers on the charges of blasphemy, sorcery and fornication.

In retaliation, the pope issue a bull which was in turn burnt in public by the King.
Soon, the King charged the Pope with the same allegations of blasphemy and sorcery and also topping it with another accusation of sodomy.
The war soon got worse when the Pope then compared the French to Dogs and their lack in spirit and strength in soul which soon affected the peasants.
The King reacted and forwarded an army to Anagni, the Pope's residence and placed him under house arrest.
The local neighbours rescued him but the 86 year-old pontiff passed away in a month where he was claimed of being shocked at the rage and others even said he killed himself.

The Pope was then succeeded by another and France's economic problems ensue. When the Queen died in 1305, King Philip took a shot to join the Knights of Templar but was rejected and due to his previous doings, they even blackballed him and denied his intentions as being genuine to join them.
When the grand master of the Knights Templar returned in 1306 in a luxurious show with 60 knights and a baggage train of gold and jewels, the King was raged and desperate due to his own finanical condition, he raised the prices of everything in France by a triple fold in just one single night; revoking a massive riot immediately; in the streets where they want to overthrow and assasinate the King who in turn had to run in disgrace to seek protection from the Knights.

Following his fall, He arranged a state action and sealed orders to every bailiff, deputy and officer in France through a secretive mass mailing on September 14; with the punitive and threathening order that they should only read the mails before the October 12th; which was a Thursday night.
On Friday morning, before the break of dusk at sunset, an estimated of more than 2,000 or even 5,000 Knights Templar were imprisoned; with an exception of 20 who managed to fled the imprisonment. The charges were not stated clearly but they were described as despicable and due to the foul happenings and injustice, the Knights Templar's supporters cursed the day; the Friday the 13th.

An interesting story which again relates to the origin of the Friday the 13th.
But how many more sources are out there to nail this day which is considered so doomed that many will go all the way out to avoid it and even skip the number to avoid mishap?
Most sources point the key origin as biblical; directing the misfortune of this day to the death of Christ on this day and the Last Supper....
Is this really the fact?
Will Friday the 13th in fact bring only tragedy and mishaps?
Is Jesus's death on the cross on a Friday bringing death and misfortune on Fridays?
Is the Last Supper such a condemnation to the people at a dining table where there should not be 13 people at a table?
Hosts go all the way out to ensure that the list of guests should not be 13 and the planning should go in such a way that even with fall outs and absences, the number should not fall to 13 or anyone can replace in desperation to avoid that number at the table.
In fact, there was even a superstition that with 13 people at the table, the first to rise from the table will die first; followed by one each every year.
In relation to the bible, Judas was the first to rise from the table at the Last Supper.

The number 13 is also termed as the devil's dozen and many more surround this unique number.
Isn't it weird how things seem to vary between the East and the West?
If it is really a case of real misfortune, then why do Chinese particular like the No. 13?
People will still be staying in the 13th room despite it being numbered as 12a or 12b, and even if the floor is numbered as any other number, will it change the fact that it is still level 13 when it is counted from the ground level?
You see, it is not the fact that matters; it is the number that is playing these mental games on their minds....where they will run away as soon as they see any occurrence of this number.
Similarly, Chinese hate the number 4 so much that they will do anything to avoid this number on their cars, house, etc....

It's all in the mind.....wonder what will happen one day when East really meets West....willl the number 4 and 13 be unlucky or auspicious?

That being said, just keep your mind's all in the mind...
The mental games are sometimes so powerful that it can create reality and that's where you start the association again.
In short, live life the way you want it....:) Whether it's 13th or not, still, Thank God it's Friday! :D

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