We are just hours away from Friday 13th, a date frequently associated with bad luck, but just how unlucky is Friday 13th? This year has a total of three Friday 13th’s, they fall in February, March and November so is this year set to be especially unlucky? According to the London Evening Standard one person in twenty people in the UK will refuse to leave the house on Friday 13th according to a new survey which says superstition over the unlucky 13th is on the rise.
The survey claims that one person in four will make some change to their routine on Friday 13th in an effort to avoid bad luck and one person in ten will avoid traveling. According to the Mirror a fear of Friday 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia [good luck pronouncing that] and it combines a fear of Fridays with the perception that number 13 is a seriously unlucky number.
It is clear that many people have a fear of Friday 13th, but is there actually a basis for the dates fearsome reputation or is it a totally irrational fear? What does science say about there being three Friday 13th in 2015, is it a scary coincidence or super unlucky?
Well neither actually, it is simply a quirk of the calendar and not actually that unusual. In fact the February, March, November Friday the 13th trilogy happens no fewer that 11 times this century. The last was in 2009 and the next in 2026.
According to folklore experts, Friday 13th wasn’t even considered unlucky until the late nineteenth century. The earliest known documented reference in English appears to be in Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini.
Friday’s have often had a bad rap however. According to EarthSky people in the middle-ages would not get married on a Friday nor would they set out on a journey. There are of course some bad associations between Christianity and both Fridays and the number 13.
Christ is believed to have been crucified on a Friday, seating 13 people at a table is considered unlucky because Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, is believed to have been the 13th guest at the last supper.
The Anglo-Saxon word for Friday is derived from the name of the ancient Scandinavian Goddess Frigga who was the god of love and fertility. However Christians considered Frigga to be a witch and Friday to be the witches Sabbath.
In recent years the Friday the 13th movie franchise has done much to keep friggatriskaidekaphobia alive. The franchise has spawned no fewer than 12 movies [phew].
According to National Geographic those three Friday the 13ths might just make the world a little safer this year. It seems that there are fewer traffic accidents, thefts and fires on the date.
So it seems that the superstition about Friday the 13th being unlucky is just that, a superstition. You are safe to go about your normal business on Friday 13th, just don’t walk under any ladders or let a black cat cross your path.
[Image via Horrormoviewallpapers.com]