It always strikes me as odd that most of us don’t even know the origins of everyday words that we all use, much less the origins of holidays and supposedly “bad luck” numbers, items, and days.
Most people are unaware that each day of the week is named for an ancient God or Goddess sacred to our forbearers. (Monday is Moon Day, generally personified as a Goddess, Tuesday is Tyr’s day, the Norse God of war… etc.) We live in a culture that is somewhat isolated in time – we celebrate some holiday traditions but most of us just skim the surface, not knowing or caring why. Or perhaps even sillier, many people continue to believe that their favorite holy day has something to do with their favorite contemporary religions (Christmas, Easter, etc). Despite the signs they put in their lawns, it’s simply not true. Contemporary religions subverted and/or borrowed holy days from older beliefs.
But back to Friday the 13th.
Why Friday the 13th? Friday happens to be Freya’s (or Frigg’s) day. Frigg and Freya are representations of the Goddess of love and fertility. (Similar to Aphrodite/Venus in Greek/Roman mythology), and Friday is traditionally a day of love and good luck.
Why 13? Numbers are important in many cultures and traditions. As it happens, there are 13 lunar months in a solar year. There were originally 13 astrological signs (Gemini’s twins were two separate entities). Thus 13 is the sacred number of the Great Goddess, worshipped for many thousands of years and continuing to this day. So it follows that when Friday falls on the 13th, it was considered an especially auspicious day.
What happened? How did such a cool day wind up being considered the exact opposite: a day of fear, bad luck and the subject of gory movies?
Well, to be brief: the dark ages happened – a time when Christianity ruled the world, and power hungry leaders worked hard to stamp out the compelling, competing Old Religion. What was good, was now bad. What was once lucky was now unlucky. What was considered holy was now profane.
OK. That’s it in a nutshell. It’s time to take Friday the 13th back!
PS) A bit more information on the names of days and months can be found in an ancient article I wrote, here:http://digitalgoddess.org/gregorian.html