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Friday the 13th

To: alt.lucky.w,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Friday the 13th 
Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2000 15:50:37 GMT

Good morning, all --

Courtesy of my friends on the Freemasonry-list, i pass along the notice
that not only does Friday the 13th fall on a full moon this month, but
it is also reminds us of the original "Friday the 13th," 693 years ago. 

It was on October 13th, 1307, a Friday, that the order went out to
arrest all members of the Knights Templar, more properly known as the
Order of Poor Knights of Jesus Christ and the Temple of Solomon. That 
fateful day has been known as "Friday the 13th" ever since, and it has
been widely considered an unlucky day no matter what month it falls in
-- but even more so when it falls in October.

Of course, there have been some calendar reforms since 1307 :-) and i
thought that the horologically obsessed among us might enjoy the
following commentary on Friday the 13th, from Roger Firestone of the
Freemasonry-list:

   Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 07:22:52 -0400 (EDT)
   From: "Dr. Roger M. Firestone" 
   Subject: Re: Calendar Reform

   In 1753, eleven days were added to the calendar by the 
   English-speaking world to move from the Julian to Gregorian 
   calendar.  The rest of the Western world had adopted the 
   Gregorian calendar about 70 years earlier, when the Pope 
   Gregory (forget his number) promulgated it. The Anglican
   Communion did not, of course, accept the authority of the 
   Papacy, even on this matter, but after most of a century 
   it came to be recognized that persisting in the folly of 
   a faulty calendar could not be justified on the grounds of
   religious differences.

   Thus, for example, George Washington was born on 11 February 
   1732, but after the addition of the eleven days, this became 
   the 22 February that we now recognize as his birthday (even 
   if it is observed on a prior Monday, and the primary observance 
   is with sales in the retail stores).

   However, one cannot add _eleven_ days to the Templar Friday 
   the 13th, because that was the correction for the 18th century. 
   In the 14th century, the correction was _eight_ days, there 
   having been an intervening three unneeded leap days in the 
   four century interval. Ergo, the Templar Friday the 13th would 
   [theoretically] become an observation on 21 October.

   In a few thousand years, it will be necessary to skip another 
   leap year that should have been under the Gregorian rule. Omar 
   Khayyam (yes, the one who wrote the Rubayat) calculated that 
   it would be more accurate to skip one leap year every 128 
   (2**7) years; the Gregorian rule skips one every 133.33 years,
   effectively. So we aren't skipping enough leap years, and one 
   more will have to be dropped someday. I think it works out to 
   about every 3000 years.  I don't expect to be around to be
   consulted on the matter...

   Horology (determination of time and the calendar) is a branch 
   of astronomy -- one of the oldest, in fact -- and should be 
   familiar to every Mason who has been Passed to the Degree of 
   Fellowcraft.  Of course, what Masons _should_ know and what 
   they _do_ know have long been somewhat divergent.  :-)

   Roger M. Firestone, 32 KCCH
   Musician/Lodge Education Officer 
   Henry Lodge #57, AF&AM
   Fairfax, VA

All of this reminds me of the wonderful "Pogo" newspaper comic strips of
Walt Kelly, whose superstitious characters frequently warned each other
that "Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday this month!" or became
agitated and fearful because "Friday the 13th falls on a Monday this
month!" 

cat yronwode 

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