In the West (and especially in Western culture), Friday the 13th is a notorious day where people will usher words of bad omens and ill luck to each other.
A tradition that is deep rooted within our society; even the most happy-go-lucky person will keep an eagle eye out for black cats and open ladders on a Friday the 13th.
Why Friday the 13th?
Well, that’s a great question with no solid answer.
However, don’t let that deter you from learning about the potential origins of Friday the 13th’s bad luck, or the 12 other fantastic facts about Friday the 13th we’ve got for you right here!
Nobody really knows why Friday the 13th is feared so much as an unlucky day.
Some people attribute it to Jesus being crucified on a Friday with 13 guests at the Last Supper the night before, whereas some people think it comes from a biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who dies on a Friday the 13th sometime in the late 19th Century.
Another potential reason is the 1907 story written by Thomas Lewson, titled Friday the Thirteenth, which was about a Wall Street broker who reaped destruction on the stock markets on Friday the 13th.
Some people are scared of this day.
The fear of Friday the 13th is known as “Friggatriskaidekaphobia.”
The word traces its etymological roots to both Norse and Greek languages, being derived from the Norse “Frigg,” the Norse Goddess that Friday is named after (also known as Freya), and the two Greek words “triskaideka” meaning “thirteen” and “phobia” meaning “fear.”
But Friday the 13th isn’t an unlucky day for everyone.
In Italy, it is considered to be a lucky day, whereas a Friday the 17th is considered to be an unlucky day.
In Italian culture, 13 is generally considered a lucky number, whereas a 17 is considered unlucky.
This is because 17, when written in Roman numerals as XVII, can be shuffled around to form the word “VIXI,” meaning “I have lied” with the implication of death in the present, and is therefore considered a bad omen.
Likewise, in Spanish-speaking countries as well as Greece, a Friday the 13th is just viewed as another day, but a Tuesday the 13th is considered a very ominous and unlucky day.
Friday the 13th hurts businesses…
Studies have shown that millions of people, especially in the West, are wary of a Friday the 13th, and that businesses tend to suffer losses on Friday the 13ths more than any other numbered Friday.
Airlines are shown to be the businesses that lose out the most on Friday the 13ths.
However, it’s very unsurprising to learn that there is barely any evidence that Friday the 13th is actually an unlucky day.
Friday the 13th has little to no marked effects or fluctuations in things like hospital visits, accidents or natural disasters.
That said, Finland has dedicated one Friday the 13th each year to be their National Accident Day, where they raise awareness for about safety – be it on the roads, at home, or in the workplace.
The most Friday the 13ths that a year will ever have is three.
However, it is always guaranteed that at least one Friday the 13th will pop up during a year.
What Makes the 13th fall on a Friday?
For a Friday the 13th to occur in a specific month, then that month must start on a Sunday.
Whenever a year begins on a Thursday, that year’s February, March and November are guaranteed to have a Friday the 13th.
This pattern of Friday the 13ths occurs 3 times every 28 years, happening last time in 2015 and happening again 2026.
This pattern of Friday the 13ths will occur 11 times during the 21st century.
A year with three Friday the 13ths can even occur on a leap year.
If January 1st of a leap year is a Sunday then January, April and July will each have a Friday the 13th in them.
On Friday the 13th of April in 2029, the asteroid 99942 Apophis will fly by Earth safely for us all to witness without a telescope from Africa, Europe and Asia.
That is, unless something alters the asteroid’s trajectory and we have to send Bruce Willis and a crack team of scientists up to space to make sure it misses us!
Alfred Hitchcock, considered as cinema’s original father of horror and master of suspense, was born on a Friday the 13th on the 13th of August in 1899.
Another famous person to share the birthday of Friday the 13th was former Cuban President and communist revolutionary Fidel Castro.