Friday the 13th

Friday 13th


Fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as frigga triskai dekaphobia.

Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

Experts say that friggatriskaidekaphobia affects millions of people and estimate that businesses, especially airlines suffer from severe losses on Friday the 13th.

A bit of bad news for all of you who suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia

All years will have at least one Friday the 13th.

The good news is that there cannot be more than three Friday the 13ths in any given calendar year.

The longest one can go without seeing a Friday the 13th is 14 months.

Whenever a non-leap year begins on a Thursday, the months of February, March, and November will have a Friday the 13th.

This will happen 11 times in the 21st century.

The February-March-November pattern repeats in a 28-year cycle.

In the 21st century, the cycle began in 2009.

In 2015, 6 years later, Friday the 13th occurred in February, March, and November.
This won’t happen for 11 more years until 2026 and we’ll have to wait again for 11 years until 2037 to see the February, March, and November trilogy.

This pattern will repeat itself starting 2043, 6 years after 2037.

Three Friday the 13ths can occur in a leap year as well.

If January 1 of a leap year falls on a Sunday, the months of January, April, and July will each have a Friday the 13th.

In the 20th century, this happened in 1928, 1956, and 1984.

And in the 21st century, this happens four times in 2012, 2040, 2068, and 2096.

Notice something interesting?

Yes, it is the 28-year cycle again!

Friday 13th – Its effects…

President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal.

Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic with an abnormal fear of the number 13.


There is very little evidence to show that Friday the 13th is indeed an unlucky day.

Many studies have shown that Friday the 13th has little or no effect on events like accidents, hospital visits, and natural disasters.


A provocatively study titled, “Is Friday the 13th Bad for Your Health?” published in the 1993 British Medical Journal, researchers compared the ratio of traffic volume to the number of automobile accidents on two different dates.

Friday the 6th and Friday the 13th, over a period of years. Their goal was to map “the relation between health, behaviour, and superstition surrounding Friday 13th in the United Kingdom.”


Interestingly, they found that while consistently fewer people in the region sampled chose to drive their cars on Friday the 13th, the number of hospital admissions due to vehicular accidents was significantly higher than on Friday the 6th.

Bad news becomes better news…

In 2004 99942 Apophis was discovered – Apophis is a near-Earth asteroid – and at the time of discovery it was thought that its orbit might come very close to the Earth, dangerously close on Friday, April the 13th 2029 to be exact.

It was suggested that there was a probability of up to 2.7% that it would collide with the Earth.

However calculations in 2013 ruled out the possibility of impact – so, for now, there is now predicted death from the skies.


There is no written evidence of this superstition before the 19th Century, however, Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales does suggest that it is ‘unlucky’ to travel on a Friday… (That’s the 14th Century)

More writings appear in the 17th Century

“Now Friday came, you old wives say, Of all the week’s the unluckiest day.” (1656)

With more appearing in the 19th Century…

“There are still a few respectable tradesmen and merchants who will not transact business, or be bled, or take physic, on a Friday, because it is an unlucky day.” (1831)

Fridays became a day on which it was seen to be unlucky to start a new venture…

Needleworking: “I knew an old lady who, if she had nearly completed a piece of needlework on a Thursday, would put it aside unfinished, and set a few stitches in her next undertaking, that she might not be obliged either to begin the new task on Friday or to remain idle for a day.” (1883)

Beginning a sea voyage: “Sailors are many of them superstitious . . . A voyage begun [on a Friday] is sure to be an unfortunate one.” (1823)

Giving birth: “A child born on a Friday is doomed to misfortune.” (1846)

Getting married: “As to Friday, a couple married on that day are doomed to a cat-and-dog life.” (1879)

Recovering from illness: “If you have been ill, don’t get up for the first time on a Friday.” (1923)

Hearing news: “If you hear anything new on a Friday, it gives you another wrinkle on your face, and adds a year to your age.” (1883)

In some cases, Good Friday (the Friday before Easter) was regarded as an exception or ‘antidote’ to the bad luck usually associated with Friday beginnings:

The name Friday comes from the Old English Frīġedæġ, meaning the “day of Frige”, a result of an old convention associating the Old English goddess Frigg with the Roman goddess Venus, with whom the day is associated in many different cultures.

Unlucky Friday ….

There may be a biblical link for Christian traditions. Some claim that many negative biblical events took place on a Friday, including the ejection of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, the start of the Great Flood, and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Friday was an execution day in Rome and later a ‘hangmans day’ in Britain.

Why the 13th? …

One of the earliest concrete taboos associated with the number 13 is said to have originated in the East with the Hindus, who apparently believed that it is always unlucky for 13 people to gather in one place — say, at dinner.

In Norse myth ….

Twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, the god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party anyway, bringing the total number of attendees to 13. True to character, Loki incited Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods.

Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly.

The Bible tells us there was exactly 13 present at the Last Supper. One of the dinner guests (disciples) betrayed Jesus Christ, setting the stage for the Crucifixion.

This Christian symbolism is reflected in early Western references to thirteen as an omen of bad fortune, which generally started to appear in the early 18th century and warned that thirteen people sitting down to a meal together presaged that one of them would die within the year:

Not until the early part of the 20th century did regular expressions of Friday the 13th as a day of evil luck start popping up in the press.

It seems that Friday the 13th became the unluckiest of days simply because it combined two distinct superstitions into one. According to the Oxford University Press Dictionary of Superstitions, the first reference to Friday the 13th itself wasn’t until 1913.

There’s a bit of an anomaly here as I’ve discovered a suggested earlier reference to Friday 13th – still not old enough to support the Knights Templar link, but apparently …

Italian composer Gioachino Rossini mentioned Friday the 13th in an 1869 biography.

He was a very superstitious man with both a fear of the number 13 and a separate fear of Fridays
In his hauntingly beautiful Petite Messe Solennelle he wrote a note on the score, pleading God’s forgiveness for the piece, which he described as his “last mortal sin.”

Rossini died the following year, on a date that was the Perfect Storm of his fears: Friday the 13th.

Folk Lore

Sometime in the 19th century, the Royal Navy attempted to finally dispel the old superstition among sailors that beginning a voyage on a Friday was certain to bring bad luck.

To demonstrate the falseness of this belief, they decided to commission a ship named HMS Friday. Her keel was laid on a Friday, she was launched on a Friday, and she set sail on her maiden voyage on Friday the 13th, under the command of a Captain James Friday.

She was never seen or heard from again.

In fact, there has never been any Royal Navy ship of that name.

It is unclear where the story originated; however, it seems to have gained in popularity after its recounting by comedian Dave Allen on his BBC television show Dave Allen at Large, Series 1, Episode 2, first broadcast 4 February 1971.

Friday, October 13, 1307, the Pope of the Roman Catholic church, in combination with the King of France, sentenced a monastic military order known as the Knights Templar to death and ordered the torture and crucifixion of their leader.

An event often said to be the origin of the Friday 13th Superstition – but now unsupported by most researchers – especially since, as was mentioned earlier, the first reference to Friday the 13th itself wasn’t until 1913.

There is a suggestion that since 13 was a celebration of the feminine (13 lunar cycles) often attested to by the Earth Mother of Luasell, a 27,000 year old cave painting in France, who is depicted as holding a crescent moon with 13 notches on it ….

Which leads to the notion that the vilification of the number 13 was a deliberate act of repression of the feminine by patriarchal religions.

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