If you’re having a bad day and you’re looking for something to blame, blame the date. Today is Friday the 13th, the unluckiest date of them all. At least that’s what a lot people believe. Personally, I love the number 13, and who doesn’t love a Friday? Not to mention, it’s October, the spookiest month of the year. So, today is a day I’ve been looking forward to.
If you’re at all like me, and you want to know why Friday the 13th is such a terrifying unlucky day, here are five facts about the dates history that explain why.
1. The Thirteen Club
Way back in the late 1800s, a man named William Fowler found it ridiculous that people feared the number 13 believed it was unlucky. To debunk the superstitions surrounding the number he founded what was known as the Thirteen Club. In order to diminish triskaidekaphobia (superstition regarding the number thirteen), the group would meet for dinner on the 13th of every month, in room 13 of the watering hole Fowler owned. They’d pass beneath a ladder and wave a banner reading Morituri te Salutamus, meaning “Those of us who are about to die salute you.” Then, they’d sit at tables set for 13 with spilled salt on them, for a 13-course dinner
2. Fear of 13
As mentioned above, there is literally a word for the fear of the number thirteen. That word is triskaidekaphobia. Try saying that five times fast, I dare you. There are even words referring to the fear of the Friday the 13th; paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia. Paraskavedekatriaphobia comes from the Greek word for Friday, paraskeví, and the Greek word for thirteen, dekatreís. The term friggatriskaidekaphobia is triskaidekaphobia with an added prefix, ‘frigga’, like the Norse goddess that Friday is named after.
3. Historical Friday the 13th’s
If the superstition that Friday her 13th is a bad day exists then there are probably historically significant bad things that have happened on that date, right? Right. Quite a few terrible events have happened on Friday the 13th. A few examples are: the German bombing of Buckingham Palace in 1940; the gruesome murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964; a cyclone that killed more than 300,000 people in Bangladesh, 1970; the death of Tupac Shakur in 1996.
4. Biblical/Mythological Superstitions
In the Bible, thirteen people attended the Last Supper. The next day, a Friday, was the day of Jesus’ crucifixion. Among those thirteen people was Judas, who betrayed Jesus. The thirteen guests at the table is considered a bad omen partially because of this. Another reason for this belief is that in a Norse myth a dinner party is held for 12 gods at which an uninvited 13th guest makes no appearance. The uninvited guest, trickster god, Loki, shoots the god of joy and happiness, Balder. Another possible reason for this superstition is because Professor Trewlaney stated so at a Christmas dinner and yet again told Harry Potter he would die. Or maybe not.
5. ‘Friday the 13th’
The most obvious of reasons for why people believe Friday the 13th is an unfortunate date is because of its presence in pop culture. There have been books and films titled ‘Friday the 13th’, the best-known obviously being the films in which the hockey mask killer, Jason, appears.