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Friday the 13th - Origins, Superstitions, the History and More

Updated on December 4, 2012

Superstitious? Why Friday the 13th is Unlucky

Have you ever wondered why Friday the 13th is considered unlucky? Why do we fear Friday the 13? What is the origin of Friday the 13th and why are we superstitious of this date? In some cases, we even go so far as to skip the number 13 on elevators, pretending there is no 13th floor to a building.

Read on to learn the name given to the phobia of Friday the 13th, the origins of Friday the 13th, and all of the superstitions surrounding the unlucky number 13. If you dare.


Fear of Friday the 13th


The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (frigga meaning "Friday" and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen), or paraskevidekatriaphobia, a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (meaning "Friday"), and dekatreís (meaning "thirteen") attached to phobía (from phóbos, meaning "fear"). The latter term was derived in 1911 and was first seen in a mainstream source in 1953.

While you may be quick to dismiss this Friday the 13th phobia as silly, do you take note when it's Friday the 13th? Do you behave differently on that day? Do your friends and co-workers seem to show this day recognition?

Friday the 13th Merchandise - Friday the 13th Books, Superstitions Books

Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th Origin

Is Friday the 13th an urban legend?

Friday the 13th superstitions originated in a Norse myth about twelve gods having a feast in Valhalla. The mischievous Loki crashed the party as an uninvited 13th guest and arranged for Hod, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Baldur, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Baldur was killed and the Earth was plunged into darkness and mourning as a result.

'Friday' was named after Frigg (or Frigga), the Norse goddess of marriage. Later she was confused with the goddess of love, Freya, who in turn became identified with Friday. When the Norsemen and Germanic tribes became Christians, Freya was supposed to have been banished to the mountains as a witch. Friday came to be called the witches' Sabbath. It was believed that on this day, each week, twelve witches and the Devil met--thirteen evil spirits total.

Some believe that the arrest of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights on Friday, October 13, 1307 by King Philip IV of France is the origin of this superstition. On that day, thousands of Templars were arrested and subsequently tortured. They then "confessed" and were executed. From that day on, Friday the 13th was considered by followers of the Templars as an evil and unlucky day.

History of Friday the 13th Superstitions - Friday the 13th Video

Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th

Is 13 unlucky?

Bad luck on Friday the 13th

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, between 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of Friday the 13th. Some people are so paralyzed by this fear, in fact, that they avoid their normal routines including, in some instances, even leaving their home.

It has been estimated that anywhere from $800 to $900 million is lost in business on Friday the 13th.

Comments - Are you extra cautious on Friday the 13th? Are you superstitious?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes im superstitious...great lens

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 5 years ago

      I'm not superstitious, I just treat this day like any other. Great lens!

    • fancyone profile image

      fancyone 5 years ago

      Happy Friday the 13th, so far my Friday the 13th's have been lucky, won in payday pools, hope the good luck continues. I enjoy reading about superstitions. Very interesting reading.


    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Happy Friday the Thirteenth! =D Fun and informative lens...thanks for sharing it!

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      missy8521 5 years ago

      Great explaining Friday the 13th, love all that spooky superstitious stuff. :)

    • vetochemicals profile image

      Cindy 5 years ago from Pittsburgh Pa

      When I worked as a nurse, friday the 13th always seemed to have weird and crazy things happen, good job explaining it here and Happy Friday the 13th to you! xo

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      neltjem 5 years ago

      OOOooh! It's friday the 13th and i'm reading up on superstitions and the origin of this "holiday!" Great job!

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      reasonablerobby 7 years ago

      Interesting my favourite explanation is the capture of the Knights Templar on Friday 13th. lensrolled to Attract Luck and Good Fortune