Today is a very special day: it is Friday, and it is the 13th day of the month. Three Fridays fall on the 13th this year, 13 weeks apart from each other. Today is the third and final Friday the 13th of 2012. You have to admit that’s pretty cool, from a mathematical perspective if nothing else.
The origins of various superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th are not clear, nor are those superstitions universal. Folklorists have recorded several theories explaining the supposed unluckiness of the date, all of which fall apart when correlated with other historical information. Superstitions, both good and bad, surrounding the number 13 and the sixth day of the week are well documented throughout history, but the two don’t seem to be linked until the beginning of the 20th century. Ironically, it would seem that the phenomenon of Friday the 13th, as we know it today, is a product of modern thinking.
I’ve never thought of it as unlucky myself, and once I learned about various pre-20th century associations with the number and the day, I started to view it as a day of special significance to me as a woman.
Friday is named for the chief goddess in the Norse pantheon, and is the only day of the week that bears a goddess’ name. I suppose this could be the reason why Friday seems like such a grrrrl power day to me.
There are 13 lunar months in a solar year, so the number 13 is often associated with the moon. Women and the moon are frequently connected in folklore and tradition for a variety of reasons, and many cultures in the West personify the moon as female. (I have felt an affinity with the moon since I was a small child, long before I knew any of that stuff.)
So the coincidence of these two calendrical facts has led me to view Friday the 13th as a special day for most of my life. (No doubt my tendency to flout tradition plays into it a bit, too.)
And if you need more proof that Friday the 13th is anything but unlucky, I offer this: it has been raining here – softly, gently, steadily – since before 6:00 a.m. In this year of record-breaking heat and drought, that is a blessing.