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Today Is Friday The 13: What Does This 'Day Of Scare' Really Mean?

May 13, 2011]------This morning my son reminded me that it was the ominous Friday the 13th: the day when bad things happen so he should stay home from school. Clever try but he was sent off regardless. His parting words were, "Mom if something happens to me, it's your fault--my blood will be on your hands."

He's a teenager so dramatic is his endgame. But I must admit, even if I don't believe in the superstition surrounding the date, I felt a twinge of something. I don't know what to call it--maybe a tad uneasy?

So where did this ominous dread attached to this date come from?

According to the esteemed online archives, Wikipedia--where one can depend on the accuracy of their wealth of information--"Friday the 13th occurs when the thirteenth day of a month falls on a Friday, which superstition holds as a day of bad luck. In the Gregorian calendar, this day occurs at least once, but at most three times a year. Any month's 13th day will fall on a Friday if the month starts on a Sunday."

It is said that the number 12 was synonymous with goodness and completeness: hence the 12 month of our calendar year; Jesus Christ's 12 Disciples; the 12 Tribes of Israel; the 12 Gods of Olympus; the 12 hours on our clocks.

13 comes after 12 and reportedly got this ominous label back in the 19th century. Thirteen comes form the Norse word friggatriskaidekaphobia: the first part of the word frigga is a Norse Goddess and the latter part, triskaidekaphobia, is said to mean fear of the number 13.

Our society has absorbed this tradition so deeply that we do not have a 13th floor in our tall buildings and movie producers cash in on the gory and scary by plying us with those films on this day!

Do you believe today is a day of bad omen, bad luck or do you think it's long-lasting hocos pocos and simply a myth?