13 Fun Facts About Friday The 13th

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Friday the 13th

Next to Halloween, Friday the 13th is one of the spookiest days of the year — and for good reason! It is known as a day for bringing about very bad luck to people.

Friday the 13th is so well-known in popular culture that it even inspired a successful horror movie franchise. In those films, the notorious hockey-mask-wearing and machete-wielding killer Jason Voorhees was born on Friday the 13th and well, he definitely didn't turn out so lucky. It's also a film franchise that will make you reconsider going to summer camp.

The superstitious 'holiday' occurs in any month that starts on a Sunday, and can happen as many as three times throughout any given calendar year, including during a leap year.

Fortunately for all of us, Friday, August 13, 2021 is the only Friday the 13th of this year.

Depending on just how superstitious someone is, Friday the 13th may be a reason to call in since from work and not leave your house all day.

Not everyone takes Friday the 13th superstitions so seriously, though. Some just use it as an excuse to joke with people, reminding them to 'be careful' today. Yeah thanks, Karen. As if I wasn't already nervous ...

Even though most of the population understands Friday the 13th as a silly if superstitious day, we don't exactly know how it came to be and the history behind it. There are definitely a lot of rumors out there, but that usually just leaves us confused and still unsure of the truth about it all.

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It turns out there's actually quite a bit of fascinating history surrounding Friday the 13th, going back as far as 2000 years at least.

Check out these 13 fun facts about Friday the 13th, including what we know of its history, origins, and why you might want to be more cautious than normal.

Don't say you weren't warned ...

1. Fridays have been considered an unlucky day for centuries.

Nowadays, we think of Fridays as lucky since they mark the end of the work week. Throughout history, however, Fridays were considered bad and unlucky.

Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century collection of stories known as "The Canterbury Tales" was one of the first texts to reference Friday as a day of unfortunate occurrences with the quote, "And on a Friday fell all this mischance".

Starting from the early 1800's onward, Fridays eventually started becoming more known as a day when people did not want to partake in ordinary tasks, but especially any type of new endeavor such as moving, getting married, or starting a new job.

2. The fear of the number 13 has roots in Christianity.

The number 13's connection to Christianity has to do with what is known as The Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples.

According to the Bible, there were twelve disciples at the dinner along with Jesus, which makes a total of thirteen people seated at the table. Judas is the disciple at the table that ultimately betrays Jesus. The following day, which later becomes known as Good Friday, is the day that Jesus is crucified. Because of that, some consider it a deadly omen to have thirteen guests at a table. his also correlates with the belief in Fridays being a bad day.

However, that outlook varies, because in the history of Friday superstitions, Good Friday was also said to be the exception.;

3. The number 13 also shows up in Norse Mythology.

It's not just Christianity that has a connection with the number 13. Norse Mythology considers the number very unlucky as well.

A Norse myth, which also centers around an unfortunate dinner, tells the story of twelve gods who were at a dinner party when a thirteenth god, Loki, showed up and proceeded to shoot Balder, the god of joy and happiness. Not such a joyous number after all.

4. We have purposely kept 13 out of our cultural norms.

When you stop and think about it, the number 12 is found in many aspects of history and culture, and it is connected to a complete set or time frame. For example, we have twelve months in a year, hours on a clock, zodiac signs, tribes of Israel, and days of Christmas. Because of this, 13 can be viewed as disruptive to the order of things.

Even in modern times, there are some hotels and taller buildings that won't even label a thirteenth floor. They just skip it and go to 14, even if technically it's still the thirteenth floor.

5. Fear of the number 13 can become severe.

When a phobia of the number 13 becomes too intense, the condition is known as triskaidekaphobia.

People who suffer from this can experience real physical symptoms such as: nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, a rapid heartbeat, sweating, and panicking.

6. Thirteen percent of the adult population in the U.S. believe Friday the 13th is unlucky.

In January 2019, a sample of Americans above the age of 18 was asked, "To what extent do you believe the each of following common superstitions? Please select one option on each row."

It turns out that 61% of respondents selected the "don't believe" option, while a fitting 13% selected "believe."

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7. No one has been able to prove that more tragedies occur on Friday the 13th than on other days.

While no scientific evidence has been found to date indicating that Fridays falling on the 13th of any given month have a higher rate of tragic events, there have surely been some particularly unfortunate Fridays the 13th in history.

Rapper Tupac Shakur (probably) died on Friday, September 13, 1996, six days after he was shot in Las Vegas, Nevada (probably).

The Germans bombed Buckingham Palace on Friday, September 13, 1940.

The Great Bhola Cyclone killed 300,000 people in Bangladesh over the two-day period of Thursday, November 12 through Friday, November 13, 1970, with the World Meteorological Organization assigning it the​ highest mortality associated with a tropical cyclone.

Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed into a glacier in the Andes mountains on its way to Santiago, Chile, on October 13, 1972, infamously leaving all survivors with cannibalism as theirs only choice for survival over the grueling 72 days they spent awaiting their eventual rescue.

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8. The beginning of the end for the legendary Knights Templar began on Friday the 13th.

The marriage between Friday the 13th and modern superstitions is said to have its origins in an incident involving the infamous Knights Templar.

Hundreds of members of the religious and military order, whose mission was to defend the Holy Land, were arrested on Friday October 13, 1307 by the King of France. They were later executed.

9. In the 1880s, an upscale club was established in New York City for the specific purpose of removing the unlucky stigma from the number 13.

While many people avoid the number 13, others have embraced it.

Captain William Fowler established the Thirteen Club in the late 19th century with the purpose of debunking the notion of the number being unlucky. Members held dinner parties on the thirteenth of the month, dining over thirteen candles, and eating thirteen courses, challenging the superstition head-on.

The group became so popular that even U.S. presidents Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt are said to have been members.

10. A novel written about Friday the 13th left some financial anaylists in fear.

In 1907, author Thomas William Lawson wrote a book titled "Friday, the Thirteenth," which centers around a stockbroker in New York who uses the superstition of the date to his advantage on Wall Street.

11. Celebrities born on Friday the 13th don't seem to be unlucky at all.

Although the date is associated with bad luck, many successful people have been born on Friday the 13th.

The Olsen Twins: Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen were billionaires by the time they were 18 years old, were born on Friday June 13, 1986, and you'd hardly consider them unlucky.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus: The actress who played Elaine on "Seinfeld" was born on Friday January 13, 1961, and ironically, was the first main cast member who was able to break the notorious "Seinfeld curse."

Steve Buscemi: The star of "Fargo" and "Boardwalk Empire" was born on Dec. 13, 1957.

12. The day's possible impact on the Stock Market has been dubbed the Friday the 13th Effect.

According to National Geographic, "It's been estimated that $800 or $900 million [U.S.] is lost in business on this day, because people will not fly or do business they normally would do."

13. If you are superstitious, there are some hacks you can try to improve your luck.

Some believe that salt, a lucky rabbit's foot, a blessed crystal possess powers capable of warding off any potential trouble from evil spirits.

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Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and Michigan native. When she's not writing, Jill enjoys Zumba class, travel, and referencing classic Seinfeld episodes.