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The History Of Why Friday The 13th Is Unlucky, Popular Superstitions & What To Avoid

Photo: Unsplash - Hannes Wolf
Friday 13th unlucky superstitions history of friday the 13th
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A spooky scary day that rivals Halloween - but what makes it so… mysterious?

21 Million Americans are downright afraid of Friday the 13th, or in other words are Paraskevidekatriaphobic (the word itself gives me goosebumps). However, one in four Americans are superstitious and are likely to have even the smallest belief that some form of bad luck will show itself on these dreadful Fridays.

But what gives? Why is Friday the 13th so relevant? Is it because thirteen is considered an unlucky number? Even then, why?

We already dread the start of the week, why don’t we care about Monday the 13th? Well, there's no one answer, but we can try to crack down on the information we already know with a little history lesson.

Besides our beloved 2Pac dying on September 13, 1996 (which just so happens to have been on a Friday), the superstition of Friday the 13th being a particularly unlucky day stems as far back as the conception of humans: Adam and Eve.

Some theologians believe that Eve tempted Adam to eat forbidden fruit from the evil tree — therefore bringing sin upon all of humanity — conveniently on Friday the 13th. In essence, humans have been doomed to this day since first sin.

However, the Gregorian Calendar was not around until Pope Gregory XIII announced it in 1582, so how can we be so sure? Let’s delve further. Besides Adam and Eve, here are a few notable mentions of tragedy striking on Friday the 13th, according to the Bible: The flood and Noah’s Ark, Able killed by Cain, and Good Friday — the day Jesus was crucified.

Friday was likely named after Frigg or Frea, the Norse Goddess of love, marriage, destiny, and sex.

The Church, not too fond of what Frigg stood for, called her a witch, and deemed Fridays to be unholy. Later adding on that the number 13 is evil because Frigg, along with 11 other witches would meet with the Devil on Fridays and have a lil’ chat.

Christians have some more insight on the number itself and its negative connotation. Before Jesus’ crucifixion, The Last Supper took place where Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th person to arrive. Therefore, you should never eat a meal with a party of 13 — it never ends well.


RELATED: 13 Spooky (And Funny!) Friday The 13th Memes To Share On Social Media


Based off of the whole Frigg-is-now-a-witch controversy, a coven is made up of 13 witches. The Christian religion has a lot to say about the day and the number, but they aren’t the only reason so many people are afraid.

The Aztec Empire came to a sudden end on Friday, 13th, 1521. On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip ordered French Templar Knights to be arrested, tortured, and killed.

If you believe in Numerology the number 12 means completeness and order — divine. However, the number 13 means chaos, disaster — out of place.

In Tarot, the 13th card is The Devil. Even though the card means the end of something it also means the beginning, but it's still scary if you pull it during a reading.

If you are into economics, around $900 million is lost in sales on Friday the 13th.

The superstition is strong enough to convince some companies, buildings and airlines to completely skip the number 13 on elevators or seats. Many people believe that if your name consists of 13 letters, you are doomed to a horrible life — take, for example, Charles Manson.

And then there's Fidel Castro, who was born on Friday the 13th. But... so was Alfred Hitchcock, who is loved by many for his horror films.

Which starts to make you think, is Friday, the 13th really all that bad? Maybe, at the end of the day, a day is just a day, and a number is just, well, a number.


RELATED: 11 Best Horror Movies On Netflix To Celebrate Friday The 13th


For instance, Egyptians believe the number 13 is good, and a sign of prosperity. The Chinese are afraid of the number 4, the Japanese don’t like 9, Italians don’t like 17, Indians don’t like 26, and some religions view 13 to be a good and positive number.

And who can forget the Baker's Dozen!? One of life's most beautiful gifts — an extra donut for good luck.

Black cats, broken mirrors, stepping on cracks, spilling salt, bad omen or not... I'll take a free donut any day of the week.


Evelyn is a designer, writer and amateur foodie who enjoys dining at all sorts of different restaurants in LA. A Pisces and Dungeons & Dragons novice, she loves spending time with her two hamsters, Hammie and Chai.

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