Thirteen facts about Friday the 13th

Thirteen facts about Friday the 13th

Common to modern folklore are myths about Friday the 13th being the most unlucky day of the year, and those who believe tend to be a bit more on edge.

Here are some unusual facts about the infamous date:

1. Contested origins

There is no record of Friday the 13th being known for bad luck until the 19th century, but there are many theories about where it comes from, ranging from Norse mythology to Christian teachings. Other theorists suggest the superstition comes from a combination of beliefs involving the number 13 and Friday both being unlucky.

2. A very rare day

Last June the “unlucky date” coincided with a full moon. That doesn’t happen often. The next dual occurrence of Friday the 13th and a full moon won’t be until 2049.

3. Strange names

Since this is a phobia, there are names for it: friggatriskaidekaphobia, derived from the Norse goddess, Frigga, wife of Odin the “allfather”; and paraskevidekatriaphobia, the Greek root for fear of Friday the 13th. Triskaidekaphobia simply means fear of the number 13.

4. On any other day

In Spanish-speaking countries, Tuesdays dated the 13th, not Fridays, are considered unlucky. In Italian culture, Friday the 17th is considered unlucky.

5. Jason Voorhees

Paramount Pictures’ slasher flick Friday the 13th, which launched a popular franchise featuring the aforementioned homicidal character, premiered on May 9, 1980. The franchise has 12 films, including a crossover film with the popular Nightmare on Elm Street series. Jason will appear in a new film this November.

6. Until next time

There can be as many as three Friday the 13ths in a single calendar year, such as in 2009 or 2012. This year the day will also occur three times. The next Friday the 13th will occur in March followed by one in November. The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is 14 months.

7. Frequency

On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days.

8. Unlucky or not?

The jury is still out: In 1993, a study published in the British Medical Journal compared hospital admissions for traffic accidents on a Friday the 13th with those on a Friday the 6th near London. Despite a lower traffic volume on the 13th than on the 6th, admissions for traffic accident victims increased 52 percent on the 13th. After conducting the study, the author recommended that people stay at home if possible.

9. Most likely

A single Gregorian cycle in the modern era lasts 4,800 months or 400 years. In a single cycle the 13th day of the month is most likely to occur on Friday. It occurs 688 times.

10. No 13th row for French planes

Airlines such as Air France often have a 12th and 14th row - but no 13th! Some airports are built without a Gate 13, and many buildings in the United States don't have a 13th floor.

11. Well-known folks

Race car driver Marco Andretti, actors Christopher Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kat Dennings were all born on Friday The 13th. So were former Cuban President Fidel Castro and notorious train robber Butch Cassidy.

12. Stressing out

According to the StressManagementCenter and Phobia Institute in North Carolina in the United States, about 17 million people fear Friday the 13th. Many may fall prey to the human mind’s desire to associate thoughts and symbols with events.

13. Templars

A possible reason the date is considered unlucky dates back to October 1307 when hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested in France. Superstitions are often associated with this secretive group.

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