By Jueseppi B.
Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition.
- 1 History
- 2 Phobia names and etymology
- 3 Tuesday the 13th
- 4 Friday the 17th
- 5 Social impact
- 6 Occurrence
- 7 Notable people who died on Friday the 13th
- 8 External links
According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century. The earliest known 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 one Friday 13th of November he died.
Several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.
- In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, twelve signs of the Zodiac, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or aNorse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table results in the death of one of the diners.
- Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects.
- Friday is also the day when Jesus Christ was crucified, making it through folklore and adding to its unpopularity.
- One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson‘s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.
- Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became extremely common. The connection between the Friday the 13th superstition and the Knights Templar was popularized in Dan Brown‘s 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code and in John J. Robinson‘s 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry. On Friday, 13 October 1307, hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested in France, an action apparently motivated financially and undertaken by the efficient royal bureaucracy to increase the prestige of the crown. Philip IV was the force behind this ruthless move, but it has also tarnished the historical reputation of Clement V. From the very day of Clement V’s coronation, the king falsely charged the Templars with heresy, immorality and abuses, and the scruples of the Pope were compromised by a growing sense that the burgeoning French State might not wait for the Church, but would proceed independently. However, experts agree that this is a relatively recent correlation, and most likely a modern-day invention.
Phobia names and etymology
The fear of Friday the 13th has been called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named in English and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen), or paraskevidekatriaphobia a concatenation of the Greek wordsParaskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”) attached to phobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning “fear”). The latter word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953.
Tuesday the 13th
In 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. A connection can be seen in the etymology of the name in some European languages (Mardi in French or martes in Spanish). 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, May 29, 1453, events that strengthen the superstition about Tuesday. In addition, in Greek the name of the day is Triti (Τρίτη) meaning literally the third (day of the week), adding weight to the superstition, since bad luck is said to “come in threes”.
Friday the 17th
In Italian popular culture, Friday the 17th (and not the 13th) is considered a day of bad luck. In fact, in Italy, 13 is generally considered a lucky number. However, due to Anglo-Saxon influence, 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?“).
According 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 have stated that their airlines do not suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.
Rate of accidents
The Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) on June 12, 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.”
The following months have a Friday the 13th:
|January||1978, 1984, 1989, 1995, 2006, 2012, 2017, 2023||A, AG|
|February||1976, 1981, 1987, 1998, 2004, 2009, 2015, 2026||D, DC|
|March||1981, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2009, 2015, 2020, 2026||D, ED|
|April||1979, 1984, 1990, 2001, 2007, 2012, 2018, 2029||G, AG|
|May||1977, 1983, 1988, 1994, 2005, 2011, 2016, 2022||B, CB|
|June||1975, 1980, 1986, 1997, 2003, 2008, 2014, 2025||E, FE|
|July||1979, 1984, 1990, 2001, 2007, 2012, 2018, 2029||G, AG|
|August||1976, 1982, 1993, 1999, 2004, 2010, 2021, 2027||C, DC|
|September||1974, 1985, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2013, 2019, 2024||F, GF|
|October||1978, 1989, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2017, 2023, 2028||A, BA|
|November||1981, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2009, 2015, 2020, 2026||D, ED|
|December||1974, 1985, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2013, 2019, 2024||F, GF|
This sequence given here for 2001–2028, follows a 28-year cycle from March 1, 1900 to February 28, 2100. The months with a Friday the 13th are determined by the Dominical letter (G, F, GF, etc.) of the year. Any month that starts on a Sunday contains a Friday the 13th, and there is at least one Friday the 13th in every calendar year. There can be as many as three Friday the 13ths in a single calendar year; either in February, March and November in a common year starting on Thursday (D) (such as 2009), or January, April and July in a leap year starting on Sunday (AG)(such as 2012).
The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is fourteen months, either from July to September the following common year (e.g., between 2001–02, 2012–13, and 2018–19), or from August to October the following leap year (e.g., between 1999–2000 or 2027–28).
Patterns for common years:
Each Gregorian 400-year cycle contains 146,097 days (365 × 400 = 146,000 normal days, plus 97 leap days). 146,097 ÷ 7 = 20,871 weeks. Thus, each cycle contains the same pattern of days of the week (and thus the same pattern of Fridays that are on the 13th). The 13th day of the month is slightly more likely to be a Friday than any other day of the week. On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days (compared to Thursday the 13th, which occurs only once every 213.59 days).
Notable people who died on Friday the 13th
|Person||Date of Death|
|Sam Patch||13 November 1829
|Gioachino Rossini||13 November 1868|
|Diamond Jim Brady||13 April 1917|
|Sir Henry Segrave||13 June 1930|
|Arnold Schoenberg||13 July 1951|
|Martita Hunt||13 June 1969|
|Lily Pons||13 February 1976|
|Mickey Spillane||13 May 1977|
|Hubert Humphrey||13 January 1978|
|Ralph Kirkpatrick||13 April 1984|
|Christopher Wilder (serial killer)||13 April 1984|
|Benny Goodman||13 June 1986|
|Gerald Moore||13 March 1987|
|Chet Baker||13 May 1988|
|Stuart Challender||13 December 1991|
|Tupac Shakur||13 September 1996|
|Tony Roper||13 October 2000|
|Julia Child||13 August 2004|
|Tim Russert||13 June 2008|
|Edwin Newman||13 August 2010|
|Richard D. Zanuck||13 July 2012|