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Unlucky Friday 13th?

Updated on September 13, 2013

So, do you consider yourself to be a superstitious person? Do you believe that you need to be wary of Friday 13th? The fear of Friday 13th does actually have 2 technical names, paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia (where Frigga is the Norse god after whom Friday is named and triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13). It was a term first used by Isador Coriat.

Apparently, that there are around 17-21 million people in the United States affected by this fear, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Ashville, North Carolina, giving rise to an estimated US$800-US$900 million loss of business as people change their normal routines in doing business, making journeys or taking flights. If that’s right, then the US economy stands to lose US$2400-US$2700 million this year.

In Spanish speaking countries, they fear Tuesday 13th (martes trece), rather than Friday, as Tuesday is considered to be dominated by Mars, the God of War, (as you will see from the romance language names for Tuesday (Mardi in French, Martes in Spanish). The Greeks also consider both Tuesday and the 13th to be unlucky days. In Greek Tuesday is known as Triti, the third day of the week and it is felt that bad things come in threes. Yikes, there’s three Friday 13ths this year! Thirteen weeks apart. Even worse, if a 31-day month has a Tuesday 13th, the following month will have a Friday 13th. So, we also have to take account of Tuesday 13th in March and November. I am not sure what the figures would be for Hispanic or Greek people in the US who have a fear of Tuesday 13th, but if you add this figure to the loss of money we already have, then 2012 is not looking good. We need a word for the fear of years that have a lot of unlucky days in them.

In a leap year, does this mean that all the marriages that take place from the ladies proposing in the leap year will be doomed to end in failure because they took place in an unlucky year? Well, there’s more bad news for the Greeks, because marriages that take place in a leap year are considered to be unlucky, with one in five engaged Greek couples avoiding marrying in a leap year. Guess it’s time to tighten your belts if you’re running a Greek bridal business this year, especially in the US, which is already over US$2700 million down because of all the Tuesday and Friday 13th s! In Scotland it is thought to be unlucky to be born in a leap year.

So superstitious dates are big business then. How did it all begin? It seems that the number 13 is considered to be unlucky because it follows 12 which is thought to be a very lucky number (hours on the clock, months in year, Apostles of Jesus, Descendants of Muhammad Imams, tribes of Israel, etc) and the extra one alters the number of completeness. Friday has been considered to be unlucky since the days of the 14th Century and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Black Friday has been the name given to stock market crashes since the 1800s.

How rational is the fear? Do statistics support the idea that more accidents happen on these days? It is difficult to quantify as there tends to be a rise in injuries on a Friday simply because it’s the day before the weekend and higher alcohol-related incidents therefore distort any useful data.

So, whether you believe that these days are unlucky or not, the reality is that there is a very real correlation between these dates and the economy, with people trying to avoid any potential harm by changing their usual routine.

The fascination with the date is reflected in popular culture, with the debut album by Black Sabbath being released in the UK on Friday 13th February, 1970. Lemony Snicket (aka novelist Daniel Handler released the 13th book in a Series of Unfortunate Events on Friday 13th October 2006. Five of the Friday 13th films were released on Friday 13th.

Friday 13th Trailer

Friday 13th Nintendo Game


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    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 4 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear Favouriteperfume,

      Thank you for a well written and entertaining article. My maternal grandmother was incredibly superstitious whereas my paternal was never phased. To my mothers horror I was born on Friday 13th in the teeth of a huge lightening storm. I wish I could have seen all of their faces !

      Voted up, funny and interesting

      kind regards Peter

    • favouriteperfume profile image

      favouriteperfume 5 years ago from Malvern, UK

      Hi James

      I'm sure 2012 will be a very lucky year for you and your girlfriend and you will both celebrate your graduation in style next year (which is of course, 2013!!) Good luck!

    • profile image

      James 5 years ago

      I was looking our calendar today and I notice that today is friday the 13th then I remember that the day my girlfriend say yes to me was january 12 then on the following day it is friday the 13th then I was shock there are two friday the 13th in one year then I search to other months then I found that july also has friday the 13th, after then I go to google and search about this 3 friday the 13th in 2012 then I found blog and I was shock that the 3 friday the 13th was exactly 13 weeks apart... wow! is this a sign that our worlds end is nearly coming? OMG I am going to graduate next year, hopefully the world will extend.

    • profile image

      Olivia 5 years ago

      i think break a mirro you bad luck 5 years or more

    • favouriteperfume profile image

      favouriteperfume 6 years ago from Malvern, UK

      Hi Alocsin - No, it doesn't happen every leap year, 2008 only had one Friday 13th.Thanks for your vote!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I did not know that. Does that typically happen every leap year or just 2012. I'm not superstitious at all, so to me, it's just an interesting fact that may affect others. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • favouriteperfume profile image

      favouriteperfume 6 years ago from Malvern, UK

      Hi Amber522. Thanks for your comment. I too, am not superstitious at all, and I was joking about in the office when I was going through my diary. Although I don't believe Friday 13th is any different to any other day, I was amazed when I found out the way this superstition can affect the economy through loss of earnings, It's a staggering amount.

    • Amber522 profile image

      Amber522 6 years ago

      This is a very fascinating hub! I don't consider myself a very superstitious person at all, but it is very eery to think about how there are 3 Friday the 13th's 13 weeks apart. That is crazy, and I never even knew it until I read this. I took Spanish in high school and college, so I love learning about Spanish speaking countries. I had no idea they feared a totally different day. Overall, I love this hub. Voting up!