Happy(?) Friday the 13th!

If you’re held up in your house because you’re too afraid to leave, or, if you’re at work wondering why no one showed up today, here’s some fun(?) info about what folklore has lead us to believe is the unluckiest day of the year:

1- It’s unclear why it’s feared.  The first documented mention of the day can be found in a biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th.  Others believe that the myth has Biblical origins. Jesus was crucified on a Friday and there were 13 guests at the Last Supper the night before his crucifixion.

2- Yet, the fear is very real.  Fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia.  Friggatriskaidekaphobia comes from Frigg, the Norse goddess of wisdom after whom Friday is named, and the Greek words triskaideka, meaning 13, and phobia, meaning fear.  Paraskevidekatriaphobia is also derived from Greek: paraskeví translates as Friday, and dekatria is another way of saying 13.

3- …and very common!  Experts say that friggatriskaidekaphobia affects millions of people and estimate that businesses, especially airlines suffer from severe losses on Friday the 13th.  Triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of the number 13, is even more widespread.

4- Friday the 13th can come in threes.  All years will have at least one Friday the 13th.  The good news is that there cannot be more than three Friday the 13ths in any given calendar year.  The longest one can go without seeing a Friday the 13th is 14 months.

5- Blame Sunday.  For a month to have a Friday the 13th, the month must begin on a Sunday.

6- Friday the 13th patterns repeat in the calendar.  Whenever a year begins on a Thursday, the months of February, March, and November will have a Friday the 13th.  This will happen 11 times in the 21st century.

7- It happens even during leap years.  If January 1 of a leap year falls on a Sunday, the months of January, April, and July will each have a Friday the 13th.

8- Fittingly, Alfred Hitchcock was born on the 13th.  The master of suspense made his directorial debut in 1922 with a movie called Number 13.

9- It’s an unlucky day only for some.  For example, in Italy, Friday the 17th and not Friday the 13th is considered to be a day that brings bad luck.  In fact, the number 13 is thought to be a lucky number!

10- Research suggests it may not be unlucky after all.  There is very little evidence to show that Friday the 13th is indeed an unlucky day.  Many studies have shown that Friday the 13th has little or no effect on events like accidents, hospital visits, and natural disasters.

11- The day inspired one of the highest grossing film series.  The commercially successful ‘Friday the 13th’ enterprise includes 12 horror movies, a television series, and several books that focus on curses and superstitions.

12- …and a country to raise safety and accident awareness.  Since 1995, Finland has dedicated one Friday the 13th in a year to observe National Accident Day. The day aims to raise awareness about safety – on the roads, at home, and at the workplace.

13- An asteroid will fly safely by the earth in 2029 on Friday the 13th!  When 99942 Apophis was discovered in 2004, it was thought to have a small chance of colliding with Earth.  But you can rest easy because since then, scientists have revised their findings which show that there is absolutely no risk of the asteroid impacting the Earth or the Moon.


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