By CRIS DIAZ
Stay at home. Today is Friday the 13th. The year 2017 has two Friday the 13th – first was January 13, 2017 and now the second October 13th. The Filipinos have started to link Friday the 13th to various events on Friday the 13th without basis at all.
However, the belief in superstition has become part of the Filipino culture and tradition. A superstitious belief handed down from generation to generation. While these superstitions are only a pigment of the imagination, most people relate these beliefs to events that often, if not rarely take place. For instance, a freak accident (natural or man-made) is often linked to the day that it has taken place. One of these days, albeit associated with horror and dread is the Friday the 13th day.
Here are some of the superstitions that, despite the advent of modern communication technology, continue to persist in the Philippines, particularly in inaccessible rural areas.
A black cat cutting across your way is a sign of bad luck that the person might meet an accident. If a bat flies in your house, it would mean that an occupant would die. And, if one hears the sound of an owl at midnight, someone’s going to die.
It must be noted, too, that the superstitions linked to Friday the 13th is not part in the list of horrors associated to the Filipino superstition. What is associated with the Filipino’s superstition is the number 13. The fear of the number 13 is not, however, 100 percent Filipino. Many believe that the fear and the belief of bad luck associated with the number 13 is the more Chinese in origin than Filipino. The Chinese culture and tradition is interlaced with the numbers in the zodiac sign.
Somehow, the fear of the number 13 has greatly influenced the Filipinos at the time when Spain dominated the country 300 years ago. Basically, it was the Spanish friars who brought the fear of the number 13 in the Filipino culture. And, the words of the Friars, the most influential sector of the predominantly Christian converted country three centuries ago, were incontestable.
Thus, the Friars have spread the bad luck and omen on the number 13, based on the 13 disciples of Jesus Christ. That Judas Escariote, the disciple who turned traitor against Christ, was the 13th person to be accepted to circle of disciples. Judas also sold his integrity for 13 pieces of silver in exchange with the arrest of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.
However, there is one dreadful historical event that actually turned Friday the 13th into a horrible and a fearsome date of the year. The event took place on Friday, October 13, 1307 when King Philip IV ordered the arrest of Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay. Along with de Molay, King Philip IV ordered all other French Templars arrested and charged with financial corruption, fraud, and secrecy.
During their detention, the Templars were coerced that they spat on the Cross and that they were engaged in idolatry by worshipping idols and mummified objects. Despite torture, de Molay has remained defiant to the end and maintained innocent of all the charges leveled against him and the French Templar.
On March 18, 1314, de Molay was sentenced to be burned alive at the stake in Paris. Legend had it that de Molay called out from the flames both King Philip IV and Pope Clement that he would soon meet them before God. De Molay’s last words were recorded in the “parchment:” “God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death.” Pope Clement died a month later and King Philip IV died in a hunting accident before the end of the year.
Thus, the Friday the 13th started its association with horror and death during the persecution and execution of the Knights Templar in 1307. The torture, the Templar’s agony and death against trumped up charges has, until today, continued to haunt the history of terror and grief every Friday the 13th of the month.
Believing in superstition? Well, there is nothing wrong with it for as long as it would not bother the person’s work, family, and relationship with others. As for fortuitous events, there is no substitute for being prepared and alert all the time. After all, catastrophe, calamity, and accidents took place in uncertain times. The Friday the 13th belief has nothing to do natural and man-made calamities and accidents. – Email reaction/comments: [email protected]
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