Friday The 13th | Why This ‘Worst Day On The Calendar’ Is So Unlucky

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Friday the 13th, considered by many as one of the unluckiest days of the year…and today is that day!

If you are one who gets freaked out about Friday The 13th, you are most certainly not alone. In fact, psychologists have even come up with a word for how you’re feeling – paraskavedekatriaphobia, or fear of Friday the 13th.

In 2017, there happen to be two Friday the 13ths – January 13 and October 13. 

Here are some facts about Friday The 13th that may help ease your mind on this spooky day. 

Why is Friday the 13th unlucky?

Friday the 13th has long been regarded as an unlucky day. Why do we choose this day in particular to fear for our lives?

Biblical origins

  • The superstition around this day is thought to have come about during the Middle Ages, and may have Biblical origins.
  • Some historians have claimed it was the day on which Eve bit the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, the great flood began and the builders of the Tower of Babel.
  • In the New Testament there were 13 people present for Jesus’s last supper on Maundy Thursday, the day before Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday.
  • On Friday October 13th 1307 Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar.
  • In his novel Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown cites the 14th century execution of Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay, which took place on Friday the 13th. He cursed the Pope and the King of France, and this spread misfortune down the ages.
  • It is also possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth played a part in disseminating the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous stock broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.

Why is Friday 13th deemed unlucky?

The origins of the Friday the 13th being an unlucky date are shrouded in mystery.

  • The number 13 has been considered unlucky for many years, even before Christ. The number 12 is historically considered the number of completeness (12 months of the year, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 hours of the clock…) while its older cousin, 13, has been seen as an outlier.
  • There is also a biblical reference to 13 being considered unlucky. Judas, the apostle who later betrayed Jesus, was supposedly the 13th guest to sit down at the last supper. Christ was crucified on a Friday.
  • In the 14th Century Geoffrey Chaucer referenced Friday as being an unlucky day in his Canterbury Tales, “And on a Friday fell all this mischance”.
  • It is also possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth reinforced the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous stock broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.
  • In numerology 13 is considered to be an irregular number and is also the number of witches you need to form a coven.

Bad things that have happened on Friday 13

  • In 1976, New Yorker Daz Baxter was apparently so afraid of Friday the 13th he decided the safest place to stay was his bed. Mr Baxter was killed when the floor of his apartment block collapsed that day.
  • In 2009, the £13.5 million SAW ride at Thorpe Park had its opening premiere, only to be shut down due to a computer programming fault. Spooky.
  • In 2010, lightning struck a 13-year-old Suffolk boy on Friday 13th at 13:13. Definitely unlucky for him.
  • During the early 1990s retired bus conductor Bob Renphrey also vowed to stay in bed on the superstitious day after some seriously bad luck. The Welshman has crashed fours cars, fallen into a river and been made redundant on previous Friday the 13ths.

Superstition

  • The number 13 has been considered unlucky for many years, even before Christ (and his 12 apostles). The number 12 is historically considered the number of completeness, while its older cousin, 13, has been seen as an outlier.
  • There are 12 months of the year, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 hours of the clock, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles of Jesus, 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams, among many incidences of the pattern historically.
  • In many Western countries tall buildings are missing the 13th floor. In China the fourth floor and in some cases all floors with the number four are left out of Chinese buildings.
  • Houses often do not have a number 13, and many hotels, including the Carlton in London, miss out a thirteenth floor.
  • It is considered very unlucky for thirteen people to dine together, and the first to rise will reach serious misfortune – a superstition upheld by US President Roosevelt. He also refused to travel on Friday the 13th.

And now you know!

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