Friday the 13th is here…and Disney is embracing it!
What about you? Are you afraid or are you ready to make it a great day?

As 2013 unfolds or by the time you read this “unfolded”…Disney villains will be – or were in the spotlight at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The Unleash the Villains **event will include a dance party hosted by Hades, a meet-and-greet for villains around the park’s Echo Lake and “Villainy in the Skies” fireworks. You can even pick up a limited edition T-shirts at the Villains in Vogue store on Sunset Boulevard. Disney is keeping the theme park open until 1 a.m. — the 13th hour. (and most of us thought midnight was the scary hour)

I don’t know about you, but as a child who grew up watching classic Disney films…the Disney bad guys were always a bit scary, a bit spooky, and surely not someone you want to meet. As I grew up I discovered the reality…which of course is that they weren’t real, they actually were pretty interesting, and not something to be afraid of after all. I think there are some very important life lessons tucked away in what I learned, as you get near the end of this article I will share a few with you.

People get weirder than normal on a Friday the 13th. They won’t fly in airplanes, take a trip, meet new people, apply for a job, get married or start a new project. Some take the day off work. Fridays tend to bring that out in people often. They are suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia.

The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th is actually a combination of two separate fears — the fear of the number 13, called triskaidekaphobia, and the fear of Fridays. Now where does that come from? Well, a variety of stories emerge to help create and perpetuate this fear.

In my novels I try to blend history, legend, sometimes urban legend, and fiction together to come up with what we call “faction”….so lets turn back the pages of time and discover a blend of all of those elements to understand Friday the 13th!

Seafarers have been careful to avoid Fridays, often refusing to ship out to sea on a Friday. According to legend, in the 18th century, the British Navy commissioned a ship called the H.M.S. Friday in order to quell the superstition. The navy selected the crew on a Friday, launched the ship on a Friday and even selected a man named James Friday as the ship’s captain. Then, one Friday morning, the ship set off on its maiden voyage — and disappeared forever.

Friday is named after Frigg, a Norse goddess. Legend held that Frigg would often join a coven of witches, normally a group of 12, bringing the total to 13. Some trace the infamy of the number 13 back to ancient Norse culture as well. In Norse mythology, the beloved hero Balder was killed at a banquet by the malevolent god Loki, who crashed the party of twelve, bringing the group to 13. Now Loki may sound familiar to many of you…think of the Marvel/Disney film Thor and the Avengers. Remember Thor’s evil brother?

Thirteen is significant to Christians because it is the number of people who were present at the Last Supper (Jesus and his 12 apostles). Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member of the party to arrive. And as the betrayer he was bad news. Christians have traditionally been wary of Fridays because Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

Another significant part of the Friday-the-13th legend is a particularly bad Friday the 13th that occurred in the middle ages. On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France burned the revered Knights Templar at the stake, marking the occasion as a day of evil. This legend was stated as fact in The Da Vinci Code so many believe this is where the Friday the 13th superstition emerged in history.

Beyond that, some fear Friday the 13th because of misfortune they’ve experienced in the past on a 13th. If you have an accident Friday the 13th, something awful happens, or lose your wallet, or job, or…well, you get the idea – that day is bound to stay with you.

Let me give you a definition of FEAR that could change your life…
Fear is… False Expectations Appearing Real 

(See the way it spells our fear? Great way to remember it, huh?  Although a gimmick, the acrostic does make it easy to remember)

The reality is that most things we stress, worry, and are fearful of…never really pan out the way we dread they will. Some studies indicate that over 85% of the things that we stress over and are fearful of never become reality. In other words, we waste a lot of time and emotion being afraid.

Now here is some good news…Fear of Friday the 13th is based on superstition, and as such it has no place in your mind and heart. No day or date is something to be feared, instead each day we are given to live is a gift, a precious gift and should be celebrated. Our lives are not dictated by luck, instead we were created for a purpose and we are called to live life with a passion to make the lives of others and the world around us better!

When you think about it bad things (from spilling your coffee to, dropping your tablet, to well, much more serious problems) happen all the time, so if you’re looking for bad luck on Friday the 13th, you’ll probably find it. But you can find it on any other day…but again, the good news is that you don’t have to live your life counting on good luck and you don’t have the moments of your life dictated by something called luck.

It is Friday the 13th, embrace the day…have fun, live it to the fullest…it is Friday!

I look back on the Disney Villains today and look forward to meeting them, taking a picture with them, and standing next to them…unafraid. That is what happens as you grow up I guess and that is one of the benefits of getting older and wiser…allow that kind of wisdom to drift over your heart and give you a sense of peace in the midst of panic. Fear not!…Live today as a celebration of the life you have been given!



**The event is part of Disney’s Limited Time Magic promotion (2013 Walt Disney Company), which is offering up entertainment in both small moments and large productions for a year.


*** The history of Friday the 13th comes from a wide variety of sources and the brief commentary on how to understand Friday the 13th is offered by author, Jeff Dixon (The Key to the Kingdom and Unlocking the Kingdom, the titles of the two mystery adventure thrillers based on the life of Walt Disney and the history of Walt Disney World. You can find more info about them on this website. They are loaded with trivia, history, mystery, parody, and surprises!)