You might want to make sure you have your lucky rabbit’s foot, four-leaf clover, horseshoe, or even underwear nearby because the unluckiest day of the year is upon us. But why is this day so infamously unlucky? Why does this day turn thousands of regular folk into Nervous Nellies? Here are 13 factoids that might shed some light on this intriguing occasion.
1) One theory of how Friday the 13th became infamous has to do with The Last Supper, where Jesus partook in a meal with twelve of his disciples. The very next day, Jesus was betrayed by one of his disciples (Judas) and was subsequently crucified. Therefore, it is believed that the coming together of the number 13 and Friday is bad news.
2) This superstition could have also arisen during the reign of King Philip IV of France. On Friday the 13th in 1307 the king commanded the arrest of thousands of Knights Templar, deeming them “enemies of the faith”. After extremely long periods of torture, they were burned at the stake.
3) The fear of the number thirteen is called Triskaidekaphobia. It is of Greek origin, Tri meaning “three”, Kai meaning “and”, and Deka meaning “ten”. Paraskevidekatriaphobia refers to the fear of Friday the 13th (Paraskevi is Greek for Friday).
4) Not all cultures deem Friday the 13th unlucky. In Italy, Friday the 17th is seen as an unlucky day. For Greek and Hispanic cultures on the other hand, it is Tuesday the 13th.
5) There is at least one Friday the 13th each year, and in a single year there can be up to three. Lucky for those with Paraskevidekatriaphobia, there is only one this year.
6) The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is fourteen months.
7) For those with an aptitude for math, you’ll have realised that every month that begins with a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th.
8) Famous people that were born on Friday the 13th include former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (born October 13 1925), former Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro (born August 13 1926), and Hollywood star Steve Buscemi (born December 13 1957).
9) Of course, the cult slasher franchise Friday the 13th was inspired by the day itself. Despite having a miniscule budget of $550,000 the first movie of the series went on to gross $39.7 million at the box office in the US. The franchise now comprises 12 movies. Sure, they may have gotten progressively worse over the years but we’ve high hopes for lucky number 13.
10) On Friday, 13 October 1972, the Uruguayan rugby union team suffered a devastating tragedy when their plane crashed in the Andes mountain range.
11) English heavy metal band Black Sabbath’s eponymous debut studio album was released on Friday the 13th, 1970. Rolling Stone describes the record as one of the best debut albums of all time.
12) American rapper and actor Tupac Shakur died Friday, September 13, 1996 after having been shot four times (twice in the chest, once in the arm, and once in the thigh) while he was in Las Vegas, Nevada.
13) A study done by the British Medical Journal in 1993 found that there was a significantly higher number of traffic related accidents on Friday the 13th than Friday the 6th. However, a possible explanation for this could be the self-fulfilling prophecy.