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10 Fascinating Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Friday The 13th

Friday The 13th facts
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Freaky Friday rolls around again.

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.

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The superstitious 'holiday' can occur once - or even several times - throughout a calendar year. It's a day when the term "use caution" has extra meaning. 

Depending on just how superstitious someone is, Friday the 13th is a reason to call in work and not leave your house all day. Unfortunately, your boss might not consider Friday the 13th a good excuse for staying home though. 

Not everyone takes it quite 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...

So, why exactly is Friday the 13th considered so unlucky, and how did it come to be this way? 

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


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Well, it turns out there's actually quite a bit of fascinating history and facts surrounding Friday the 13th, which go back as far as 2000 years to be exact. It's definitely not something new.

Check out these interesting facts surrounding this mysterious day and see why this Friday the 13th, you might want to consider being just a little 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 very lucky since they mark the end of the work week. Throughout history, however, any Friday was considered a bad and unlucky day.

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.  


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2. 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. This 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. There have been tragic events throughout history that have happened on Friday the 13th.

If you thought bad things happening on Friday the 13th was just a myth, history shows us that quite a few tragic events have fallen on this day.

The rapper Tupac Shakur died on Friday April 13, 1996. On Friday September 13, 1940 the Germans bombed Buckingham Palace. On Friday November 13, 1970 a cyclone in Bangladesh killed 300,000 people, and on October 13, 1972 a Chilean Air Force plane disappeared in the Andes.


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7. The Knights Templar are connected with the origin of Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th as a superstitious date is said to have originated from 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. 


8. There was a club that celebrated the number 13.

While many people avoided the number 13, there were others who actually embraced it. Captain William Fowler established the Thirteen Club in the late 19th century. Having dinner parties on the thirteenth of the month, dining over thirteen candles, and eating thirteen courses were just some of the ways this group got their fix challenging the superstition head-on. The group became so popular that even Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt are said to have been members of it. 



9. There was a novel written about Friday the 13th.

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


10. Not everything connected to Friday the 13th is unlucky. 

Although the date is associated with bad luck, many successful people have been born on Friday the 13th. The Olsen Twins, who were billionaires by the time they were 18 years old, were born on Friday June 13, 1986, and you'd hardly consider them unlucky. Comedic actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 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'.


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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.


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