superstition

Friday the 13th: why is it ‘unlucky’?

 
Friday 13th
 

Today is Friday the 13th. Again. Cultures all over the world consider this an unlucky date, despite the fact that there’s no logical or scientific reason to support this notion. So why do people believe Friday the 13th is unlucky? And why won’t this notion go away?

Why do we fear Friday the 13th? 

Most superstitions arise as a method of coping with uncertainty. We fret about the important things in our lives: our health, our children, our paychecks and our sports teams. All these things are dear to us, and all can be drastically affected in a positive or negative direction by events utterly beyond our control.

Interestingly, the infrequency of Friday the 13th helps to maintain the anxiety it provokes. There is a 13th day in every month of the year, but when the 13th falls on a Tuesday or a Sunday or any day but Friday, we take little notice. Same goes for the 50 or more non-13th Fridays each year.

But because black cats and broken mirrors and Fridays the 13th are quite rare, it's almost impossible not to associate a calamitous event that befalls you when they're nearby with the superstition attached to them.

But if you are one of those who feel an anxious pang when you realize it is Friday the 13th, your reaction is not at all surprising. There are many forces conspiring to make you anxious, and they are likely to exist as long as we do.

Friday the 13th is considered to be the unluckiest day in the Gregorian calendar.

13 facts about Friday 13th 

1. ...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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Alfred Hitchcock

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. WHAT HAPPENED ON FRIDAY THE 13TH? 

• The Nazis dropped a bomb on Buckingham Palace on Friday the 13th of September 1940 (the royal family were not hurt). 

• On Friday the 13th, October 1972, a plane crashed in the Andes. Twelve people died instantly and more were killed in an avalanche later. Those who survived resorted to cannibalism. 

  • Rapper Tupac Shakur died on the 13th of September 1996, a few days after being shot several times in Las Vegas as he left a Mike Tyson boxing match. 

• On Friday, October 13th, 1989, the stock exchange suffered a serious crash, the second most damaging in market history at the time. 

8. 14th Guest

Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest. 

Butch Cassidy

9. Butch Cassidy

Butch Cassidy, notorious American train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.

10. Avoiding the Number

Babylonian Code of Hammurabi omitted a 13th law from its list of legal rules, according to an early myth. In reality, it was a clerical error made by an early translator who left out a line of text.

11. Fear of Friday the 13th

One of the most popular myths in science — is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13. 

12. Not Leaving on a Friday

In the Middle Ages, weddings were not held on Fridays, nor would people set out on a journey. 

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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..