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In the U.S. it is Friday the 13th, and there is a saga of horror movies to show it. But in Spanish-speaking countries, the dreaded date is not Friday, but Tuesday the 13th, instead.
Martes 13, no doubt, is the day to stay put and watch out for evil’s misdeeds.
“Ni te cases ni te embarques ni de tu casa de apartes”, the old saying recommends ("Don’t marry, don’t set sail and don’t go far from home").
But what is wrong with cute and chubby number 13, to the point that some buildings have opted to skip the floor number altogether? Several theories have survived for generations and now inhabit the Internet. Here are some of them:
1) We’ve been told in Christian literature that Jesus had 12 apostles but some consider Judas to be apostle 13. After selling his Master for a purse of coins, Judas Iscariot went down the road of infamy – together with the banished number.
2) The Kabbalah lists 13 evil spirits, as does Scandinavian mythology.
3) In the Bible’s Book of Revelation or Apocalypse, Chapter 13 is devoted to the antichrist and the beast.
4) The fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade occurred on Tuesday, April 13, 1204.
5) In the Tarot, 13 is the number that refers to death and eternal misery.
The case for evil Tuesday seems to be rooted on the second fall of Constantinople, this time to the Ottomans, which also happened on a Tuesday (May 29, 1453) and had a huge impact in the Christian world.
"Tuesday" is a word derived from the name of Mars (the planet is actually called “Marte” in Spanish), which in the Middle Ages was known as "the little evil." Mars is also the god of war, so it was believed Tuesday was ruled by Mars’ destruction, blood and violence.
Additionally, legend has it that the confusion of tongues at the Tower of Babel happened on a Tuesday the 13th.
As for Friday's origin as an unlucky day, the consensus is largely associated to Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. Others note the superstition may stem from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, published in the 14th century, where Friday is considered a day of misfortune.
In any event, Wall Street has fostered a fear of Friday the 13th for decades, as the International Business Times noted some time ago. In Oct. 13, 1989, the publication recalls, Wall Street saw the second largest drop of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in history at the time.
The day was nicknamed the Friday-the-13th mini-crash, IBT claims.