Why is Friday the 13th Unlucky?

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Do you believe the number 13 is unlucky? How about Friday the 13th? There are two of those dates this year, and the first happens this month. But do you know exactly where the superstition comes from? Even if you do, you might wonder why this particular date still exerts any kind of hold over modern times. People avoid making major purchases, don’t get their hair cut, and even think getting a tattoo on the date could be bad luck. So, how did we wind up here? Why is Friday the 13th considered so unlucky?

The Most Famous Thirteen

As with a great deal of superstitions and lore, the fear of Friday the 13th might come from Biblical days. At the Last Supper, traditionally believed to have happened on a Thursday, Jesus dined with his 12 disciples. That means there were 13 people at the table. The next day, Good Friday, is held as the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. 

In addition to making people nervous about Friday the 13th, this event may also have sparked the superstition about 13 people dining together being unlucky. Even the “Harry Potter” novels referenced the idea that when a group of 13 people eat together, the first person to rise from the table will be the next to die. If you haven’t read the books, I won’t say much more than that!

More “Bad Luck”?

Another possible source for this superstition could be King Philip IV of Franc’s arrest and execution of hundreds of members of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13th, 1307. The king accused them of several illegal acts, but the real story is more likely that he wanted his own debts to the order cancelled. The knights were burned at the stake, and one of them may have uttered a curse that rendered all future Friday the 13ths unlucky!

Other unfortunate Friday the 13ths include the bombing of Buckingham Palace during World War II on September 13th, 1940. The deadliest tropical cyclone in history struck Bangladesh on November 13th, 1970. The Costa Concordia cruise ship hit the Tuscan coast on January 13th, 2012 and 32 people died. 

Make Your Own Luck

Statistically, Friday the 13th doesn’t seem to be any more unlucky than any other day of the year. Rest assured that you don’t have to stay home or change your routine in any real way. Just maybe don’t invite 12 of your friends over for dinner.

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