Friday the 13th…Why is it Unlucky?


October 21, 2016


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There is a plethora of common myths and superstitions such as opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck; if you spill salt you should throw it over your left shoulder to avoid bad luck; if you break a mirror you will receive 7 years bad luck; and Friday the 13th is bad luck.

The origin of the fear of Friday the 13th is somewhat of a mystery…it’s not perfectly clear where or when the trepidation began.  Some theorists hypothesize that the superstition of Friday being unlucky can be traced back to Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales, published in 1475, where he writes, “And on a Friday fell all this mischance.” (http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/friday-13th-phobia-hype-history/)

For thousands of years, the number 13 has been considered unlucky…some would say even cursed.  The number 12 is known to be the number of completeness and perfection…12 hours on the clock, 12 Apostles, 12 months of the year, 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus…and the list goes on.  Therefore, the number 13 is seen as imperfect.

Even now, many buildings don’t have a 13th floor, many airports don’t have a gate 13, some hospitals don’t have a room 13, and numerous cities don’t have a 13th street or avenue.  Therefore, the combination of Friday being unlucky and the number 13 being unlucky makes for the perfect superstition that Friday the 13th is the unluckiest day of the year!  It is even estimated that approximately 20 million people in the United States are affected by the fear of Friday the 13th…to the point of being classified as a phobia…known as paraskevidekatriaphobia . (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th)

Hollywood has taken this fear of Friday the 13th and profited from it…turning it into an American horror franchise.  There have been a dozen Friday the 13th movies, numerous comic books and novels, a television show, merchandise, and even a video game.  It’s also pretty much a guarantee that if you trick-or-treat this Halloween, you will see at least one Jason Voorhees, the fictional character from the franchise, roaming the neighborhood.

So, whether you believe in common superstitions or know someone else who happens to take a “sick day” on Friday the 13th, think twice before walking under a ladder or opening an umbrella indoors.  It just might change your day!