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    Friday the 13th: Here’s a look at the superstition
    • October 13, 2023

    For now, consider yourself lucky. This is the last Friday the 13th you’ll have this year. The number 13 and Friday have been intertwined in irrational fear for centuries. Today seems a good day to look at bad luck.


    Say what? Someone with Paraskevidekatriaphobia has an irrational fear of Friday the 13th. A Gallup poll in 1990 showed that only 9% of Americans believed that Friday the 13th was unlucky. The irrational fear of things associated with the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia.

    “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”

    –Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Out of your Frigga mind

    The origins of negativity associated with Friday and number 13 are not certain, but Friday has had a bad reputation in several ancient religions and cultures. The Norse goddess Frigga was a goddess of love, beauty, magic and death and Friday was named for her. Many Christians vilified the day named for a figure associated with witchcraft.

    “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. “

    –Thomas Jefferson

    Mark your calendar

    In Italy, Friday the 17th is related to bad luck and 13 is often considered a lucky number.

    Tuesday the 13th is considered to be a day of bad luck in Spanish speaking countries.

    “Luck? I don’t know anything about luck. I’ve never banked on it, and I’m afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work – and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.”

    –Lucille Ball

    Traffic superstition

    The British Medical Journal did a study in 1993 to examine if Friday the 13th was bad for your health. They studied traffic accidents on Friday the 6th and Friday the 13th over years and found that accidents increased as much as 52% on the 13th.

    Maybe the Dutch are luckier than the British, because a Dutch study in 2008 found that Friday the 13th had a slight decrease in traffic accidents than the average totals on a Friday.

    Here are 13 superstitious ways to bring good luck on Friday the 13th.

    Picking a penny up that’s heads up
    Looking at the moon over your right shoulder
    A ladybug landing on you
    A picture or statue of an elephant facing the door
    A bird flying into your house
    Hang garlic
    Wear your birthstone
    Listen to crickets
    Find a four-leaf clover
    Cross your fingers
    Put sugar before liquid in the cup
    If you see three butterflies
    Wear clothes inside out

    Friday follies

    Friday has a negative connotation in many ways.

    Jesus was crucified on a Friday. In British tradition most public hangings were carried out on a Friday. Sailors before the 18th century often refused to set sail on a Friday.


    Kurt Snibbe

    What’s in a number?

    The number 13 has long been vilified, and some believe because it comes after a number that is very popular, 12: 12 months, 12 noon, 12 midnight, 12 signs of the zodiac, there were 12 gods of Olympus and the same number of apostles of Jesus.

    In Norse folklore, number 13 got a bad name after their 12 gods had an uninvited guest that instigated a blind god of darkness to shoot an arrow and kill the god of joy.

    Judas the apostle was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.

    Also, 13 is considered Pagan because there are 13 months in the pagan lunar calendar.

    Thirteen is avoided on hotel floors, room numbers, and office buildings. Many cities avoid the use of 13th street.

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    Good luck at the box office

    There have been 12 Friday the 13th films. The last version was in 2009. The 12 films had a total budget estimated around $81 million and have made over $374 million in the U.S.

    Sources: History Channel, The Ohio State University, Live Science, Imdb

    ​ Orange County Register