Saturday, June 14, 2008

Friday the 13th.


It's an awfully big word, and my first new word in a long time. I have no idea how to pronounce it, nor am I likely even going to try. It is the word for fear of Friday the 13th. This word is, I'm told, an improvement over the formerly used (at least by me) triskaidekaphobia, the more simple fear of the number thirteen.

I've been trying to verify where the tradition came from - that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. I'd looked into this a year ago, and at that time it seemed (according to sources) that the source of the superstition was the decimation of the Knights Templar culminating with the arrest of the last Grand Master on Friday, October 13, 1307. Now, I'm reading that this was a 20th century 'invention', and credited to Dan Brown's book, The DaVinci Code.

But whoa - the first time I read about that source of superstition was in Linda Howard's Son Of The Morning, and this book pre-dates Brown's by nearly a decade (it was published 1997).

Meanwhile, I live in a small town in Southern Ontario, about a half hour's drive from another small town, Port Dover.

For the town of Port Dover, Friday the 13th has become a very lucky day indeed. This community on the shores of Lake Erie is the scene of a "biker bash" every Fiday the 13th - and sadly for them in 2008 there is only one, and it was yesterday.

Small town Ontario biker bash, you're thinking. How many bikes, exactly? This morning, the news estimates put the number at 30,000. Yes, thirty thousand. And the financial influx into that very small town and surrounding area, from this one day event? Five million dollars.

I used to joke to family and friends that I was so unlucky all the time, I considered Friday the 13th to be my lucky day. But as near as I can recall, nothing remarkable has ever happened on any Friday the 13th of my experience.

For the most part, it's always been just another day.

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