Friday the 13th has been part of western culture for as long as most of us can remember. But do you know where the origin of the unluckiness of the number 13 came from?
The number 13
The unluckiness of the number 13, like many legends and superstitions of western culture, originates in Norse mythology. It came about with the Norse myth surrounding the death of Balder (Baldr). There was a gathering of the Gods in Valhalla, 12 of them. Until Loki, uninvited, arrived and became the 13th guest.
Balder was the Light, Good, pure son of Odin and Frigg. Upon his birth, Frigg, in all her love for this beautiful child, went about the world gathering oaths from all living things to never harm the pure Balder. Unfortunately, Mistletoe being too young (or too insignificant) to provide that oath was ignored.
Loki, being the son of an ass that he was convinced Hoder (Hodr) to shoot Balder with a Mistletoe-tipped spear or arrow. Balder died and the world mourned. The light was now dark. This event in Norse mythology caused our association with the unluckiness of the number 13.
Friday on the other hand doesn’t have much of a source of origin as the number 13, but it has been considered an unlucky day to start a voyage or begin new projects since at least the 14th century.
However, I like the connection to Friday being the origin of the name. Friday was originally Frigg’s Day. It was terribly unlucky that Frigg missed getting the oath from the mistletoe, and that was the downfall of Balder.
So, with the combination of Frigg’s unluckiness with the mistletoe, and the chaotic nature of Loki, being the 13th guest, the day holds a certain darkness that we try to explain. But it could just be the connection to the gods we are all looking for. Their sadness and sense of loss at the death of Balder.
Yes, I know some of this is speculation, my imagination, or whatever, but hey… Happy Friday the 13th!