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Friday The Thirteenth

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190805.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:20 am Reply with quote

Donald Duck's birthday is commonly stated as being June 9 1934, the day he debuted in the Silly Symphony cartoon "The Wise Little Hen". However according to page 9 of "Walt Disney's The Life Of Donald Duck" (Random House, 1941) Donald Duck was hatched on Friday 13th March.
"The egg shell was quacked and blasted into a hundred million flying pieces! Donald Duck stepped out of the wreckage and into the world. but what a world! it was Friday the thirteenth. It was night. It was raining. Donald shivered."

Also in "Donald's Happy Birthday" in which Donald's nephews (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) are sitting in their playhouse trying to decide what to get "Unca' Donald" for his birthday. On the wall is a calendar showing the date: March 13. As an aside, the March 13th is also referenced on Donald Duck's license plate as the number 313.


190809.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:35 am Reply with quote

This turns out to be a lot more interesting than I first thought; I assumed that I'd go to Wiki and find stuff about witches sabbats and the such like but apparently that's GI. I haven't got all that much time to spend on this right now checking out a range of sources but it seems that the cultural
if you prefer is a recent phenomenon
The first documented mention of a "Friday the 13th" is generally listed as occurring in the early 1900's

Friday the thirteenth it seems is about as culturally traditional as Father's Day!

190929.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:18 am Reply with quote

Obviously speaking any month starting on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th, thats pretty obvious but it helps me out because if its the first day of a month and its a Sunday then I can start telling people of the impending Friday the 13th without consulting a calander.

I'mk not superstitious about this myself but I enjoy annoying people who are.

190936.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:23 am Reply with quote

According to the various documentaries I have seen, wasn't the 'Friday The Thirteenth Is Unlucky' malarkey linked to the concerted attempt to wipe out The Knights Templar in the fourteenth century (I think it was then).

Or is that a nurban miff, perpetuated by TV Production Companies as part of the whole Templar conspiracy thing? (It was being said, before Dan Browns Big Book of Arse Gravy was released, as far as I know).



Last edited by Tas on Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:36 am; edited 1 time in total

190949.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:34 am Reply with quote

Actually I seem to remember something about that Tas now that you mention it. Wasn't it that the knights Templar were wiped out on October the 13th (a friday) of some year and that the day was hence remember for bad fortune/luck.

Not sure but I think this may have been an invention of Dan Brown, or at least if they were killed on that day then it was Dan Brown who recently highlighted it. Given that it happened in the early 14th century and Friday the 13th is more of a 20th century thing then this seems to be an unlikely reason for the superstition, but still an interesting theory.

190972.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:54 am Reply with quote

The arrest of many French Templars on the order of Philip IV did indeed take place on Friday, October the 13th 1307, but there's nothing substantial to link that event to the twentieth century belief in Friday the 13th being unlucky.

Here's an interesting article:

Why Friday the 13th is Unlucky

And here's Snopes.

191016.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:49 am Reply with quote

it is said that the arrest of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights on Friday, October 13, 1307 by King Philip IV of France is the origin of this superstition. That day thousands of Templars were arrested and subsequently tortured. They then 'confessed' and were executed. But it strikes me that the impact of this would have been only relevant to templar followers, and as far as I can tell 13th October 1307 was a Tuesday! but I'm probably not carrying the 1 when I do my calendar conversions.

However ... The earliest reference I can find for Friday 13th being considered unlucky is in the Chicago Daily Tribune dated May 14th 1898. On page 6 is an article from a correspondent in Tampa, Florida who filed his article on May 13th.
"It's Friday, the 13th of the month," remarked a cavalry officer tonight. "And, of course, we don't want to make any move today." Whether the combination hoodoo has had anything to do with it or not, it is nevertheless true that everything here is at a standstill.

"combination hoodoo" seems to be the key phrase here.

Certainly Pepys mentions two Friday 13ths (13/01/1660 and 13/04/1660) however on neither occasion does he make any reference to any superstition related to the date and Pepys was a fairly supersitious chap so I would have thought he would have mentioned it.

Sailors were particularly superstitious, often refusing to ship out to sea on a Friday (any old not Friday not just a 13th)

According to legend, in the 18th century, the British Navy commissioned a ship called the H.M.S. Friday in order to quell the superstition. The navy selected the crew on a Friday, launched the ship on a Friday and even selected a man named James Friday as the ship's captain. Then, one Friday morning, the ship set off on its maiden voyage and disappeared forever. No such ship, ever existed and probably never will. It is just a myth, a fact confirmed by the definitive listing of RN ships: J. J. Colledge's "Ships of the Royal Navy: The Complete Record of All Fighting Ships of the Royal Navy from the Fifteenth Century to the Present" which does not list any ship named Friday. Furthermore the Royal Naval Historical Branch in Portsmouth, who really should know these things wash their hands thoroughly of this myth (they seemed to have heard it before!).

A similar legend has been sighted in America ...

The Rose of the Valley [Cincinnati] published 1 November 1839 says
"Sailor’s dread of Friday – Columbus sailed from Spain on Friday, and discovered land on Friday. These curious coincidences have sufficed one might think; to dispel the superstitious dread still so prevalent of commencing a voyage on that day. To our certain knowledge, the keel of Old Ironsides [USS Constitution] was laid on Friday; she was launched on Friday; went to sea on Friday; and fought her first battle on Friday."

However ...
Constitution was launched on 21 October 1797 (Wednesday)
Constitution first put to sea on 22 July 1798 (Thursday)
Constitution first went into full battle on 3rd August 1804 (Wednesday)
but Constitution did first go into "action" on 11 May 1800 (Friday) this was a "cutting out expedition" in the harbor at Port Plate on the island of Hispaniola, where they discovered the French corvette Sandwich. The captain surprised the French by sending a small detachment of sailors and marines to storm the ship and sail her out of port. So whilst she was not engaged in battle with any warship, she was involved with the capture of privateers. So all in all a lucky day for her :)

When the Wellesley put out to sea from a British port on a Friday in March 1848, she was immediately recalled by the port admiral and made to wait until the following day.

During World War II the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth returned to Australia for repairs after being severely damaged in the Crete campaign in the Mediterranean; when she was seaworthy again she picked up a replacement crew at Fremantle, Western Australia, and sailed for Singapore a few minutes into Saturday, February 14, 1942...the navy having delayed her departure so that she would not have to leave on Friday the 13th.


Mr Grue
191019.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:52 am Reply with quote

As mentioned elsewhere on the board, the thirteenth is marginally more likely to fall on a Friday than any other day.

By crikey! You turn your back on a subject for five minutes and look what happens!

191115.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:26 pm Reply with quote

From todays Irish Times:

Brendan McWilliams, The Irish Times wrote:
There are days when Murphy's law become a force majeure, when, as Hamlet puts it "sorrows come, not as single spies, but in battalions". Today, by tradition, is the paradigm of all such days; it is Friday the 13th, a day whos unsavoury reputation stems from a combination of the bad luck individually associated with both Friday and the number 13.
In the Christian tradition, Friday is a day of ill-omen because of its because of its association with the Crucifixion, and also because many undesirable or ill-fated biblical events took place on that day. Eve, for example, allegedly gave the apple to Adam on a Friday morning, and that very afternoon the unfortunate pair were evicted from their Paradise; Noah's flood, too, we aer told, began on a Friday.
Even Friday's weather is unreliable, as Chaucer tells us in The Knights Tale, recalling that in ancient Rome, Friday was dies Veneris, the day dedicated to Venus, goddess of love: Just like a Friday morning truth to tell; Shining one moment and then raining fast so changey Venus loves to overcast The hearts of all her folk; like her day Friday, is changeable-and so are they.
Seldom is Friday like any other day.
The significance of 13 in this day's cluster of accumulating woes relates to the history of the number 12. Twelve was seen as the most "complete" number.
There were, after all, 12 months of the year, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 signs of the zodiac and 12 apostles of Jesus.
Thirteen, just one digit beyond 12, was symbolic of the first departure from completeness, or an initial step towards evil. And in Christian tradition, there is the unlucky significance of the 13 participants at the Last Supper.
The combination of Friday and 13 is no less common on the calendar than thatof any other day and date. Most years have either one or two Fridays on the 13th of a month; this year we have had two - in April and now in July. But some unlcky years have triple trouble with three. This happens in a non-leap year if New Years Day falls on a Thursday, or in a leap year begining on a Sunday; it last occured in 1984, but - luckily? - will not happen again until 2012.
One assumes that it is also leap-year complications that explain the conclusion reached by experts who studied a "400-year repeating cycle" of the calendar; they say that the 13th of the month is marginally more likely to fall on Friday than on any other day. Each such cycle contains 4,800 13ths; these, apparently, comprise 687 Sundays, 685 Mondays, 685 Tuesdays, 687 Wednesdays, 684 Thursdays and 684 Saturadys.

But there are 688 Friday the 13ths, which seems unfair - or is it just bad luck?

And for figuring out if past or future 13th's fall/fell on a Friday use this site

Last edited by Mulvil on Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:34 pm; edited 1 time in total

191134.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:50 pm Reply with quote

Mulvil wrote:
From todays Irish Times:

Bendan McWilliams, The Irish Times wrote:

One assumes that it is also leap-year complications that explain the conclusion reached by experts who studied a "400-year repeating cycle" of the calendar; they say that the 13th of the month is marginally more likely to fall on Friday than on any other day. Each such cycle contains 4,800 13ths; these, apparently, comprise 687 Sundays, 685 Mondays, 685 Tuesdays, 687 Wednesdays, 684 Thursdays and 684 Saturadys.

But there are 688 Friday the 13ths, which seems unfair - or is it just bad luck?

Could this expert be our own Mr Grue?

191140.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:21 pm Reply with quote


It does look as if it just might be, doesn't it! On a couple of occasions I've seen stuff magically appear on Wiki after being discussed in these here forums, but a national newspaper!

191172.  Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:13 pm Reply with quote

Mr Grue wrote:

Missed that somehow. But in all truth just how bored were you Dr bob! I mean really! So over 2000 years there's 0.0583% more Friday 13ths and that makes, erm, 0.35 (roughly) more 13ths on a Friday than any other day over an eighty year lifespan. Is that right?

Mr Grue
191216.  Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:21 am Reply with quote

Hmm... could be from here, but the info is there in the calendar. I do like the idea that something as straightforward as counting 13ths could be described as experts studying...

191249.  Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:08 am Reply with quote

this may have been an invention of Dan Brown

You mean Dan Brown actually wrote some of the text in that book with his name on it?

191450.  Sun Jul 15, 2007 3:03 pm Reply with quote

Beep wrote:
this may have been an invention of Dan Brown

You mean Dan Brown actually wrote some of the text in that book with his name on it?

Well its an absolutely awful book with very poor dialogue between its characters so he probably wrote a good bit of it


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