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Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
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    #4171025 - 05/13/05 03:37 PM (11 years, 5 months ago)

The roots of Friday the 13th
Friday 13th, 2005 - cnews.canoe.ca

TORONTO (CP) - Friday the 13th is a day that seems to promise bad luck - but on the upside, it only happens once this year.

The norm is one or two Friday the 13ths a year, says John Percy, a University of Toronto astronomy and astrophysics professor.

Over the last decade, only 1998 had three of the bad-luck days, and no year had more. And looking ahead over the next five years, only 2009 will have three - in February, March and November.

It would be rare to see four or five Friday the 13ths in a calendar year, says Percy.

But if the low number of unlucky days doesn't ease anxieties, Percy said there's no evidence linking Friday the 13th to bad luck.

"It's strictly a superstition," Percy said from his Mississauga, Ont., office. "I can't think of any reason why Friday the 13th should be any more unusual than Monday the 1st."

Fears about Friday the 13th stem from early Christianity, said Dena Taylor, a U of T occult expert.

"Friday was the day on which Christ was crucified. ... Judas was considered the 13th person at the table (of the Last Supper) and he of course, is the betrayer," Taylor said.

Taylor said 13 was linked with evil by Christians in the Middle Ages in the belief that witches met in covens of 13, and the 13th member was the devil.

She adds the superstition is only a western phenomenon.

"Within western culture Friday the 13th is perceived as being unlucky .... (In other cultures) it's meaningless."

But the day does have value beyond superstitious hocus-pocus, said Elizabeth Ridgely, a Toronto social worker. She said Friday the 13th allows people one day to accept their own fears.

"It's a day that's dedicated to people's anxiety about safety, anxiety about things working out for them, anxiety about a bad thing happening to either themselves or to somebody in their family."

Whether Friday the 13th brings fear of the worst or freedom to acknowledge anxieties, you won't have to deal with it again until January 2006.

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