Where does the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th come from? The origin of the fears surrounding this day stem predominantly from the story of Jesus Christs’ Last Supper.

At Christs’ last meal, the Last Supper, Jesus was accompanied by twelve apostles. This already explains why the number 13 is shrouded in superstition.

Judas was the thirteenth guest at the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, and it was he who betrayed Jesus and surrendered him to the Romans. Jesus was subsequently sentenced to death, by agonizing crucifixion, on a Friday.

Judas was the thirteenth guest at the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday

Judas’ betrayal was linked to the fact that he claimed not to see Jesus as the Messiah. However, it should also be noted that Judas received 30 Roman pennies as a reward for his betrayal. Thus, the character of Judas symbolized all the Judeans who did not recognize Jesus as Israel’s long-awaited Messiah.

In the gospel, according to Mark, we can read the inscription bearing the reason for his condemnation: “Jesus was guilty of high treason, since he claimed to be the King of the Jews.” Like other self-proclaimed messiahs of the same period, He was therefore crucified.

The Romans prayed to several gods, and to the emperor of Rome. Not wanting to bow down to a man, even if he was emperor, Christians and Judeans represented a threat to the Roman empire. For decades, the Romans did everything in their power to destroy the new religions of Christianity and Judaism. Despite persecution, Christians, like Judeans, were resilient until the fall of the Roman Empire’s rule in 476. This year would mark the end of Antiquity, and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Friday – a day unlike any other

Friday is not a day in the traditional sense of the word. Rather, it is a symbolic day in monotheistic religions. According to the Bible, for Christians it is a day of penance in memory of the death of Christ, which took place on a Friday. Similarly, Herod, King of Judea, had innocent people massacred on a Friday. As for Solomon’s temple, it was destroyed on a Friday. It was also on a Friday that the great flood began, which pushed Noah into the waves. That’s a lot of Fridays linked with bad luck!

The number 13

The number thirteen has a negative connotation! It was in fact the thirteenth guest at Jesus’ last supper who betrayed Christ.

In Ancient Roman circles, the number twelve represented perfection: the Twelve Olympians, the Twelve Constellations, the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac, the Twelve Hours of Day and Night. For Rome, the number thirteen broke a perfect cycle by causing disorder and, by ricochet, a lot of misfortune.

Superstitious circles will not fail to point out that it was Pope Gregory XIII, the 13th in his line, who adopted the Gregorian calendar.

Warding off Curses

When Friday the 13th features on the calendar, the most superstitious people, called paraskevidekatriaphobes, do not leave their homes.

At the other end of the scale, mathematicians would say that two negative values cancel each other out (the day Friday and the number 13), so, in fact, there is nothing to worry about.

Friday the 13th is not synonymous with bad luck everywhere. You’ve guessed it: in countries that do not practice Christianity, amongst others, Friday the 13th is just a day like any other.