Why is Friday the 13th Unlucky?

October 13, 2020 Nila Choudhury     KissMeImNila

Friday the 13th sounds menacing, doesn’t it? There’s long been a fear of the day and it’s on the rise this time around because the so-called dreadful day is today! Psychologists have even named the irrational fear of the day paraskavedekatriaphobia.

Horror movies have fed on the fears of their viewers to make millions but is there any truth behind this sinister date? In various cultures and/or religions, Friday is considered unlucky and so is the number 13, making the combination intense. Where did this start?

Friday the 13th is a mysterious day with many reasons behind its ominous history. There are all types of reasons from Biblical origins to medieval times.

Here are a few of the reasons Friday the 13th is considered unlucky:

  • Historically, the number 12 is given great value and 13 is 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 Christ, and 12 Descendants of Muhammad’s Imams.
  • According to some historians, in the Bible, Friday the 13th is the day Eve bit into the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, which led them to being thrown out of the Garden of Eden.
  • It’s believed to be the day the great flood began.
  • The Temple of Solomon is said to be destroyed on a Friday.
  • Hindus believe a gathering of 13 people are unlucky
  • In the New Testament, there were 13 people at Jesus’ last supper Thursday, the day before his crucifixion on Good Friday. There are references stating that all Fridays were considered unlucky, except for Good Friday.
  • Friday the 13th in 1307 is when France’s Philip IV arrested hundreds of the Knights of Templar
  • Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel “Friday the Thirteenth” from 1907 may have added to the ominous beliefs about the date because in his novel a stockbroker took advantage of the superstition to create Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.
  • It is a superstitious belief that it is unlucky to have 13 people dine together and the first to rise will face misfortune. Surprisingly, former U.S. President Roosevelt held on to this belief and never dined with 13 people, neither did he travel on Friday the 13th.
  • In some cultures, calling a doctor for the first time on a Friday is an omen of death.
  • In England, some  believe cutting hair and nails on a Friday will lead to misfortune, and some people will not marry on a Friday as they believe it is unlucky
  • In the county of Cumbria in the U.K., babies born on a Friday are laid on the family Bible
  • In the county of Somerset in England, they say whoever turns a bed on a Friday turns ships at sea
  • Friday is named in honor of the Norse goddess Frigg who was the goddess of love, beauty, wisdom, war, death, and magic. Many believed it to be unlucky to wed on this day because of the day’s namesake.
  • In Christianity, it is unlucky to have 13 people sitting at a table for dinner because Judas Iscariot was by tradition, the 13th person to be seated at the Last Supper and he betrayed Christ.
  • Ancient Egyptians believed life was a spiritual 12-part journey and the 13th stage was death but not in a fearful way. They looked at death as a joyous transformative ascension to the afterlife.
  • Friday, October 13, 1066, was the last day of King Harold II’s reign and William of Normandy took his crown by force at the Battle of Hastings killing Harold for it.

Getting married or even flying on Friday the 13th is cheaper than any other day because people are so superstitious about the date! Even the number of property transactions decline on that day. There are usually more bargains for houses or apartments with the number 13 related to it. Some buildings will even have the 13th floor missing. In Chinese culture, the number 4 (um, hello 1+3) is considered unlucky. Some buildings go so far as to have all floors with the number 4 in it missing!

However, Dr. Caroline Watt of the University of Edinburgh says that it’s not the date, but the great fear people have of facing danger on that day that is more harmful People are susceptible to self-fulfilling prophecies since their anxiety leads to distractedness and accidents.

“It is like telling someone they are cursed. If they believe they are then they will worry, their blood pressure will go up, and they put themselves at risk,” Watt said.

To boost up morale, here are some positive things that have happened on Friday the 13th:

  • Friday the 13th means it will be followed by Saturday the 14th! Perk up kids, the weekend is here. Friday nights are still for a happy hour and clubbing until 6 a.m. until Saturday mornings—that won’t change.
  • The United Kingdom’s first nudist colony was founded on Friday, July 13, 1930. The Brits let it all out at the North Devon Club in Metherell when it opened it’s doors on a Friday the 13th. Now, whether this is positive or negative, depends on who you ask.
  • The legendary Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, CA. was established on Friday, July 13, 1923.
  • Former President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the executive order that made gender discrimination in the workplace illegal on October 13, 1967, so obviously this triumphs all the other reasons.
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were born June 13, 1986. I mean, what other reason would you need…

It’s not all bad guys, so don’t freak out this Friday the 13th!


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Nila Choudhury

New York born and raised, Nila Choudhury (aka the encyclopedia of useless Bollywood knowledge) is avoiding rishta aunties by obtaining her doctoral degree in clinical psychology.


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