Friday the 13th (Part 2)

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If this post seems vaguely familiar, like the feeling of trying to put a name to a face at a high-school reunion, it’s because we’ve shot the breeze on this topic before – back in April (HERE)

That’s the last time a Friday fell on the 13th of the month.

If you’re inclined to think we’re maybe a little hard done by having two old-school superstition-shrouded Friday the 13th‘s in the one year, spare a thought for the folk of 2009 and 2015 (ok so that’s still us!) ’cause in both those years there were three of the bad boys stalking the calendar. The next time the Friday the 13th trilogy appears is in 2026.

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Got your slide rule ready? It might help.

To explain why the year 2015 had three Friday the 13th’s, concentrate on the word ‘Thursday’.

The year 2015 started on a Thursday.

Whenever a year of 365 days starts on a Thursday, it’s inevitable that the months of February, March and November will start on a Sunday. And any month starting on a Sunday always has a Friday the 13th.

A grand total of eleven FebruaryMarchNovember Friday the 13th years take place in the 21st century –

2009, 2015, 2026, 2037, 2043, 2054, 2065, 2071, 2082, 2093 and 2099

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I’ve been accused before of being overly fond of multi-syllable words.

Friggatriskaidekaphobia (all 23 letters of it) by that account should have me flipping crazy cartwheels of joy.

That’s the word some linguist has coined to describe an irrational fear of Friday the 13th.

According to history-buffs known as folklorists, there’s no written evidence that Friday the 13th was considered unlucky before the 19th century. The earliest known documented reference in English appears to be in Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini.  Does he look that scary to you?

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Friday has always gotten a bad rap.

In the Middle Ages, people would not marry – or set out on a journey – on a Friday.

There are also some links between Christianity and an ill association with either Fridays or the number 13. Jesus was said to be crucified on a Friday. Seating 13 people at a table was seen as bad luck because Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, is said to have been the 13th guest at the Last Supper.

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My other favourite superstition is something known as The Curse of the Ninth.

This one’s an odd belief/theory connected with the history of  classical music.

In essence, it is the notion that a ninth symphony is destined to be a composer’s last; i.e. that the composer will be fated to die while or after writing it, or before completing a tenth. To those who give credence to the idea, a composer who produces a ninth symphony has reached a decisive landmark, and to then embark on a tenth is a challenge to fate.

Ludwig van Beethoven is the most famous example of a composer who died after achieving nine symphonies with other instances being Schubert, Dvorak, SpohrBruckner, Mahler and Vaughan Williams (depending on what music is counted as a symphony).

My first exposure to this bit of classical whackiness was an episode of MIDSOMER MURDERS called, oddly enough, THE CURSE OF THE NINTH.

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 Ps. For those who think their life is already a never-ending string of inexplicable events, happy Friday the 13th anyway.

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Pss.  12 boys and one coach makes 13!

Even Black Friday can’t cast a shadow over the good news story the world needed to have. What better way to end off this week then by showcasing what may turn out to be the news photo of the year –

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11 thoughts on “Friday the 13th (Part 2)

    • You are very right Lixie.
      There are so many counter-examples of composers who went on to create more than nine symphonies and lived healthy, productive lives it renders this superstition very much all a bit of a giggle.

      Try these names for starters –

      Andrzej Panufnik (10), Peter Maxwell Davies (10), Hans Werner Henze (10), Eduard Tubin (10), William Schuman (10; Alun Hoddinott (10), David Diamond (11), Joachim Raff (11), Edmund Rubbra (11), Robert Simpson (11), Philip Glass (11, as of 2017), Heitor Villa-Lobos (12), Darius Milhaud and Alexander Moyzes (12 each), Vagn Holmboe (13), Roy Harris (13), Gloria Coates (15), Dmitri Shostakovich (15), Kalevi Aho (16, as of 2016), Rued Langgaard (16), Henry Cowell (17), Allan Pettersson (17), Lev Knipper (20), Jānis Ivanovs (21), Mieczysław Weinberg (22), Nikolai Myaskovsky (27), Havergal Brian (32), Alan Hovhaness (67), Derek Bourgeois (114), and Leif Segerstam (319, as of April 2018)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes. Thanks for the info, since I only had heard about six of these composers and known music from five of them. The eleven symphonies by Glass are also a discovery for me. *A Hug*

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have passed myself off as quite the musicologist haven’t I Roger!
        Put simply, I know people who know people.
        Plus I had a wonderful piano teacher back in the 5th grade (Mrs Robinson was her name) who taught me many things.
        And it stuck!

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  1. Thoroughly enjoyed your journey into Friday 13th – interesting to know that any month starting with a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th- makes perfect sense. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. But there’s 13 players on a rugby league field, so it can never be unlucky to me. And any day that is a Friday is a good one for me, regardless of the number attached to it.

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  3. For all the bad rap about Fridays, the one I encounter the most is Mondays. So many are programmed to suggest if it is a Monday, it has to be a bad day. Quite a tragic way to live one’s life, programmed to think one seventh of ones life is automatically doomed. I guess one could be proactive in the face of such a dilemma and plan a weekly celebration of some sort every Monday evening. Perhaps a top class wine at the end of each Monday?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry Rog but this smacks of spinful optimism gone amuck!
    Everyone knows Mondays suck big time (do you admire my adult way with words?) and dish out bruising black eyes and kicks to the throat to all and sundry.
    I’ve certainly had my share.

    As far as I’m concerned the only good thing about Mondays is Australian Story on the ABC at 8pm.
    And even that won’t be back until August 6th!

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