Saturday, October 5, 2013

Friday the 13th, a Curse or a Blessing?

by Lena Nelson Dooley

I was born on a Friday the 13th. When I was growing up, my daddy sometimes told me that was what was wrong with me. I was born on Friday the 13th.

I choose to look at Friday the 13th differently from most people. It is the day of my blessing. The day God chose for me to be born. Over the years I've had wonderful things happen to me when my birthday lands on Friday.

Friday the 13th has been considered unlucky since the early 1800s. Some of the reasons have their roots in Christian lore:

There were thirteen participants at the Last Supper. Tradition states that Judas Iscariot , the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table.

Thirteen was once associated with the Epiphany by Christians, as it is said the child Jesus received the Magi on his thirteenth day of life.

There are 13 Apostles in Christianity; the 12 Disciples plus St Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus. In addition to being the 13th Apostle, he is also known as "The Apostle" by the Church Fathers.

Now I don't know about you, but I find nothing in any of this information to put a stigma on the day.

The number 13 has important meanings in many ways not only in our country's history, but also in other events in history:

The number of colonies that formed the United States. The original flag had thirteen stars, one for each state. New stars have since been added whenever a new state joins the union, but the idea of adding stripes for new states was soon dropped, so the American flag to this day has thirteen horizontal stripes: six white ones and seven red ones.

In the Great Seal of the United States there are 13 olive leaves (with 13 olives), 13 arrows, and 13 stars. These form a triangle over the eagle with the number 13 on each point. On the reverse the pyramid has 13 levels.

The number of guns in a gun salute to U.S. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps Major Generals, and Navy and Coast Guard Rear Admirals Upper Half.

The original number of members of The Thirteen Club.

The number of loaves in a "baker's dozen"

There are traditionally thirteen steps leading up to a gallows. It is, however, an urban myth that there are thirteen turns in a hangman's noose (there are most commonly eight turns.)

Rondeau is a poem with 13 lines in some variants.

Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with the 13th Legion, marking the beginning of Caesar's civil war and the eventual death of the Roman Republic.

In some countries, the number 13 is considered unlucky and building owners will sometimes purposefully omit a floor so numbered.

Trece is the Spanish word for thirteen; the number 13 is used to identify members of 13th SureƱos - chicano gang members in the U.S. that identify themselves with la Eme - the Mexican Mafia.

In the mythology of the television program, Battlestar Galactica, Earth is the 13th colony, lost after humanity left their planet of origin, Kobol, and created the Twelve Colonies

In Thailand, the traditional Thai New Year (Songkran Day) is on April 13.

13 steps is a paragraph of the Final Document (agreed by consensus) of the 2000 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In the television series House, Dr. Remy Hadley (Olivia Wilde) is nicknamed Thirteen, the number she was assigned in competition to fill the three vacancies in the title character's diagnostic team in Season 4.

I, for one, refuse to let the Enemy of our Souls to steal the wonderful number 13 and the day Friday the 13th from us. I do not consider it a curse or bad luck. It will from now on be a blessing.

However, if you're writing a historical set in the 1800s, especially in the old west, many people were superstitious, and would have expected bad luck on Friday the 13th.

So look around you today and discover all the wonderful blessings God has in store for you today.

Right now, I'm the screenwriter for a Christian movie that will release next year, but I'd love for you to check out my books.

Have any of you had something special happen for you on a Friday the 13th? If so, please share with us in the comments.


  1. I had to smile because we stayed at a very nice resort for my husband's conference and they omitted the 13th floor. Well sort of. They named it the 14th floor.

    1. There are a number of buildings that don't have a 13th floor. They just skip the number and go to the 14th. Very silly to me.

  2. I loved the historical aspects of the number 13. Thanks for sharing! I've always liked the number 13, even though others tended to stay away from it.
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

    1. Good for you, Sally. I'm so glad you didn't fall under the spell of the 13th being unlucky. I actually don't believe in luck, I believe in the blessings of God.

    2. Absolutely! Maybe that's why it never bothered me. When I worked at Hardee's I requested my clock number to be 13. lol I never forgot my number!

  3. Nothing special has happened on a Friday the 13th, but Robert Mikell's birthday is October 13 and of course we've had a few Fridays for his birthday parties and they were fun. He doesn't consider it an unlucky day. I have noticed that most high rise hotels don't have a 13th floor. Some do, but I think it's funny that so many don't.

    It's interesting to see the origin of the superstition of it being bad luck and how long it's been around. I'm like you, It's just another day, and God's blessings come no matter what day of the month it is. :)

  4. I love your post! All of the facts dealing with the number 13 are quite interesting. I guess I tend to think that Friday, the 13th, is a good day just like the rest of them. And if I was born on the 13th of the month, I would sure love that number no matter what day of the week it fell on.

  5. Great post, Lena! I agree that the 13th is another wonderful day that God has blessed us with!!

  6. My oldest daughter was married on a FRI. 13th in 1971. I've heard her say to many that it was a very lucky day for them.They were married for 4 1/2 yrs, before he passed away suddenly a yr. ago AUG, My mom worried a lot on those days. I really don't remember very many things happening on that day that wasn't normal. Enjoyed the article.
    MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

  7. Hi Lena, loved your post. Looking at things through God's eyes can sure make a difference in how we see the world.

  8. My birthday is also on the 13th (as is one of my daughter's). I was not born on a Friday, however, I have had two birthdays that I can recall off the top of my head that were on Friday the 13th and both were wonderful birthdays. One was a surprise Sweet 16 party. I definitely like Friday the 13th!
    Brittany McEuen

  9. My daughter was born on Oct 13th, which is coming up next week. She has always loved the number, and wanted to be #13 on her volleyball team in high school. She's also #13 in our church choir. She's certainly been a blessing to our family!

  10. Did not know there were sooooo many 13's in our lives. An interesting concept and I don't get negative with Friday, 13th- just like any other day full of surprises for all of us. sharon, ca

  11. Thanks for the interesting post, Lena, lot of new 13 info for me - although, I have never given any thought to Fri. the 13th. Superstition is just that - superstition!

  12. I didn't know half of this, Lena. Interesting post!

  13. Hi Lena. My first child was born on Friday the 13th, Good Friday that year. She was 13 days early. She weighed 6 lbs 13 ounces and there are 13 letters in her name...using her most commonly used nickname and last name. and now as a married woman there are 13 letters in her name using her real first name and her new last name. And she's been one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me.

  14. It is amazing to me how superstitious people can be about a silly number! I've had so many good things happen to me on a Friday the 13th: got a raise, got a promotion, won something in a drawing, or chose a seat or a lunch tray that had a special prize on the bottom, and the list goes on! I think the only "unlucky" thing to happen to me on a Friday 13th was in 6th grade when I got sent home with the chickenpox and I wasn't too terribly upset about missing a few days of Jr High!!