Today is Friday the 13th – a day that strikes fear in the hearts of the superstitious. But how did it all get started, and is it really all that unlucky?
Here are five fun facts about today:
- Friday is referenced as an unlucky day in Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th Century collection of stories, The Canterbury Tales. He writes: "...and on a Friday fell all this misfortune." For sailors, it is unlucky to start a journey on a Friday. Some Christians believe Friday is unlucky because Jesus was crucified on a Friday.
- Some believe having 13 people seated at a table – as in the Last Supper – is unlucky. In numerology, the number 12 is considered the number of completeness, as in 12 months of the year, 12 hours on the clock, 12 Apostles of Jesus, etc.; the number 13 is considered irregular. Also, 13 turns make a traditional hangman's noose.
- Fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia. Try saying that three times fast (or 13 times).
- In Spanish-speaking countries and in Greece, Tuesday the 13th is considered the day of bad luck – not Friday the 13th.
- The 13th of the month can fall on a Friday up to three times a year, and it must fall on a Friday at least once every year. In 2012, Friday the 13th occurs in January, April and July.