Friday the 13th: 13 Facts About the Unluckiest Day in the Calendar
Friday the 13th is considered to be the unluckiest day in the Gregorian calendar. Here are 13 facts about this day of ill-repute.
Friday the 13th: Lucky or unlucky?
1. It’s Unclear Why it is Feared
Very little is known about the origins of the day’s notoriety. Some historians believe that the superstitions surrounding it arose in the late 19th century. The first documented mention of the day can be found in a biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th. A 1907 book, Friday the Thirteenth, by American businessman Thomas Lawson, may have further perpetuated the superstition.
Others believe that the myth has Biblical origins. Jesus was crucified on a Friday and there were 13 guests at the Last Supper the night before his crucifixion.
All about Friday
Another account suggests that the day has been associated with misfortune since 1307, when on a Friday the 13th, the French king gave the orders to arrest hundreds of Knights Templar.
History of Friday the 13th
2. Yet, the Fear is Very Real…
So real that one scientific name wasn’t enough. The fear of Friday the 13th is also called friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia. Now say that 10 times really fast!
Friggatriskaidekaphobia comes from Frigg, the Norse goddess of wisdom after whom Friday is named, and the Greek words triskaideka, meaning 13, and phobia, meaning fear. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is also derived from Greek: paraskeví translates as Friday, and dekatria is another way of saying 13.
3. …And Very Common!
Experts say that friggatriskaidekaphobia affects millions of people and estimate that businesses, especially airlines suffer from severe losses on Friday the 13th.
Triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of the number 13, is even more widespread. So much so that many high-rise buildings, hotels, and hospitals skip the 13th floor and many airports do not have gates numbered 13. In many parts of the world, having 13 people at the dinner table is considered bad luck.
4. Friday the 13th Can Come in Threes
A bit of bad news for all of you who suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia – all years will have at least one Friday the 13th. The good news is that there cannot be more than three Friday the 13ths in any given calendar year. The longest one can go without seeing a Friday the 13th is 14 months.
When is the next Friday the 13th?
5. Blame Sunday
For a month to have a Friday the 13th, the month must begin on a Sunday. Don’t believe us? Check out our Calendars and test it for yourself.
6. Friday the 13th Patterns Repeat in the Calendar
There is a calendrical method to the madness of Friday the 13th. Whenever a common year begins on a Thursday, the months of February, March, and November will have a Friday the 13th. This will happen 11 times in the 21st century.
The February-March-November pattern repeats in a 28-year cycle. In the 21st century, the cycle began in 2009. In 2015, 6 years later, Friday the 13th occurred in February, March, and November. This won’t happen for 11 more years until 2026 and we’ll have to wait again for 11 years until 2037 to see the February, March, and November trilogy.
This pattern will repeat itself starting 2043, 6 years after 2037.
Learn more about the days of the week
About the months of the year
7. Even During Leap Years
Three Friday the 13ths can occur in a leap year as well. If January 1 of a leap year falls on a Sunday, the months of January, April, and July will each have a Friday the 13th.
In the 20th century, this happened in 1928, 1956, and 1984. And in the 21st century this will happen four times in 2012, 2040, 2068, and 2096. Notice something interesting? Yes, it is the 28-year cycle again!
8. Fittingly, Alfred Hitchcock Was Born on the 13th
The master of suspense was born on August 13, 1899 – so Friday, August 13, 1999 would have been his 100th birthday. He made his directorial debut in 1922 with a movie called Number 13. Unfortunately, the film was doomed from the start and never got off the ground due to financial troubles.
Other celebrities and well-known personalities born on a Friday the 13th include actors Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen; novelist and playwright, Samuel Beckett; and former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro.
9. It’s an Unlucky Day Only For Some
Friday the 13th is not universally seen as a day of misery. For example, in Italy, Friday the 17th and not Friday the 13th is considered to be a day that brings bad luck. In fact, the number 13 is thought to be a lucky number!
In many Spanish speaking countries and in Greece, Tuesday the 13th is seen as a day of misfortune.
10. And Research Suggests That It May Not Be Unlucky After All
There is very little evidence to show that Friday the 13th is indeed an unlucky day. Many studies have shown that Friday the 13th has little or no effect on events like accidents, hospital visits, and natural disasters.
11. The Day Inspired One of the Highest Grossing Film Series
The commercially successful Friday the 13th enterprise includes 12 horror movies, a television series, and several books that focus on curses and superstitions. Even though the films and the television series consistently received negative reviews from critics, they have a huge following. The mask worn by the key character in the films, Jason Voorhees, is one of the most known images in popular culture.
12. And a Country to Raise Safety and Accident Awareness
Since 1995, Finland has dedicated one Friday the 13th in a year to observe National Accident Day. The day aims to raise awareness about safety – on the roads, at home, and at the workplace.
13. An Asteroid Will Safely Fly By the Earth in 2029
On a Friday the 13th! Friday, April the 13th, 2029 to be exact. When 99942 Apophis was discovered in 2004, it was thought to have a small chance of colliding with Earth. But you can rest easy because since then, scientists have revised their findings which show that there is absolutely no risk of the asteroid impacting the Earth or the Moon.
Friday the 13thFriday the 13thFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to searchThis article is about the superstition. For information about horror on the 13th including the franchise, see Friday the 13th (franchise). For other uses, see Friday the 13th (disambiguation).
Friday the 13th in a calendarFriday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. It occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday, which happens at least once every year but can occur up to three times in the same year. In 2017, it occurred twice, on January 13 and October 13. In 2018, it also occurs twice on April 13 and July 13. There will be two Friday the 13ths every year until 2020, where 2021 and 2022 will have just one occurrence, in August and May respectively.
Contents1 History2 Tuesday the 13th in Hispanic and Greek culture3 Friday the 17th in Italy4 Social impact4.1 Rate of accidents5 Occurrence5.1 Frequency6 See also7 References8 External linksHistoryThe fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: “triskaidekaphobia”; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”).
The Last Supper by Leonardo da VinciThe superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, “originating from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion” in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday. While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.
An early documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th:
He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.
Rossini by Henri GrevedonIt is possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, contributed to disseminating the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.
A suggested origin of the superstition—Friday, 13 October 1307, the date Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar—may not have been formulated until the 20th century. It is mentioned in the 1955 Maurice Druon historical novel The Iron King (Le Roi de fer), John J. Robinson’s 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, Dan Brown’s 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and Steve Berry’s The Templar Legacy (2006).
Tuesday the 13th in Hispanic and Greek cultureIn Spanish-speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th (martes trece) is considered a day of bad luck.
The Greeks also consider Tuesday (and especially the 13th) an unlucky day. Tuesday is considered dominated by the influence of Ares, the god of war (Mars in Roman mythology). The fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade occurred on Tuesday, April 13, 1204, and the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans happened on Tuesday, 29 May 1453, events that strengthen the superstition about Tuesday. In addition, in Greek the name of the day is Triti (Τρίτη) meaning the third (day of the week), adding weight to the superstition, since bad luck is said to “come in threes”.
Tuesday the 13th occurs on a month starting on Thursday.
Friday the 17th in ItalyIn Italian popular culture, Friday the 17th (and not the 13th) is considered a day of bad luck. The origin of this belief could be traced in the writing of number 17, in Roman numerals: XVII. By shuffling the digits of the number one can easily get the word VIXI (“I have lived”, implying death in the present), an omen of bad luck. In fact, in Italy, 13 is generally considered a lucky number. However, due to Americanization, young people consider Friday the 13th unlucky as well.
The 2000 parody film Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth was released in Italy with the title Shriek – Hai impegni per venerdì 17? (“Shriek – Do You Have Something to Do on Friday the 17th?”).
Friday the 17th occurs on a month starting on Wednesday.
Social impactAccording to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day, making it the most feared day and date in history. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. “It’s been estimated that [US]$800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day”. Despite this, representatives for both Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines (the latter now merged into United Airlines) have stated that their airlines do not suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.
In Finland, a consortium of governmental and nongovernmental organizations led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health promotes the National Accident Day (kansallinen tapaturmapäivä) to raise awareness about automotive safety, which always falls on a Friday the 13th. The event is coordinated by the Finnish Red Cross and has been held since 1995.
Rate of accidentsA study in the British Medical Journal, published in 1993, attracted some attention from popular science-literature, as it concluded that “‘the risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent’ on the 13th”; however, the authors clearly state that “the numbers of admissions from accidents are too small to allow meaningful analysis”. Subsequent studies have disproved any correlation between Friday the 13th and the rate of accidents.
On the contrary, the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics on 12 June 2008 stated that “fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home. Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday the 13th, at least in the Netherlands; in the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500.”
How Friday the 13th Works
BY TOM HARRIS
Other Friday the 13th Traditions
The Christian perspective on Friday and 13 is the most relevant today, but it’s only one part of the Friday the 13th tradition.
Some trace the infamy of the number 13 back to ancient Norse culture. In Norse mythology, the beloved hero Balder was killed at a banquet by the mischievous god Loki, who crashed the party of twelve, bringing the group to 13. This story, as well as the story of the Last Supper, led to one of the most entrenched 13-related beliefs: You should never sit down to a meal in a group of 13.
Another significant piece of the 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 arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil. Check out this site to learn more.
Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.
Ultimately, the complex folklore of Friday the 13th doesn’t have much to do with people’s fears today. The fear has much more to do with personal experience. People learn at a young age that Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky, for whatever reason, and then they look for evidence that the legend is true. The evidence isn’t hard to come by, of course. If you get in a car wreck on one Friday the 13th, lose your wallet, or even spill your coffee, that day will probably stay with you. But if you think about it, bad things, big and small, happen all the time. If you’re looking for bad luck on Friday the 13th, you’ll probably find it.
For more information about Friday the 13th and other superstitions, check out the links on the next page.
You may not take drastic safety precautions every Friday the 13th, but are you totally immune to the superstition? Given the choice, would you get married, start a new job or close on a house on Friday the 13th? Most Americans wouldn’t, even though they don’t put much stock in the idea. Superstition has a way of creeping up on people when they’re in a particularly vulnerable state.