Five Things About Friday the 13th
Is it really such an unlucky day? Well, in short, yes—yes, it is.
Did you wake up with a foreboding feeling today, like maybe you’ll cross paths with a black cat, break a mirror or encounter a hockey-masked killer? That’s Friday the 13th for you.
Historically, Friday the 13th has seen its share of bad events, including deadly World War II bombings, killer earthquakes and storms and a 1989 stock market plunge.
But how much do you really know about the unluckiest of all days? Here are five Friday the 13th facts:
Are you superstitious about Friday the 13th? Leave a comment.
- The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia. The fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia, and both Napoleon Bonaparte and President Herbert Hoover were infamously stricken with it.
- Fear of 13 is nothing new. The Code of Hammurabi—Babylonian law that dates back until at least 1780 BC—omitted a 13th law because it would be unlucky. Theories abound as to why 13’s bad reputation persisted. Some tie it to the number of diners at the Last Supper, or the actions of the 13th dinner guest, Judas. Numerologists also point to 13’s position just after the rounder number 12—12 signs of the zodiac, 12 months in a year, 12 tribes of Israel and so on.
- Four of the 12 movies in the Friday the 13th franchise have been released on Friday the 13th, including the original (1980), the sequel (1981) and the 2009 remake.
- The pairing of Friday and the 13th is statistically more likely to occur than any other day of the week. For reasons known only to him, mathematician B.H. Brown set out in 1933 to compute the distribution of days of the week on the 13th of the month. The calendar repeats every 4,800 months, or 400 years. Over that time, a Friday the 13th will happen 688 times. That’s more often than the 13th will fall on Sunday (687), Monday (685), Tuesday (685), Wednesday (687), Thursday (684) or Saturday (684).
- Many hospitals don’t have a room 13, in the same way that many airports don’t have a gate 13. Some establishments will instead call it 12a, or just skip right ahead to 14, as is the custom for tall buildings. Really -- visit the city and try to find a high-rise elevator with a 13 button!
Happy Friday the 13th! And to all the friggatriskaidekaphobics of the world… well, maybe you should just stay in bed.