Fear of Friday the 13th is a Western superstition. The occurrence of the 13th day of the month falling on Friday happens at least once a year but can happen as open as three times a year. There will be two Friday the 13th's each year until 2020.
The fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia and the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia. A search of records revealed that prior to the 19th century there is no mention of a fear of Friday the 13th. An early documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards' biography of Gioachino Rossini written in 1869. Rossini died on Friday the 13th. "He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away"
In 1907, Thomas W, Lawson published the novel, Friday, the Thirteenth, which may have contributed to the superstition. In Lawson's book, an unscrupulous stockbroker takes advantage of the superstition to create a panic on Wall Street on Friday the 13th. An earlier suggested origin of the superstition dates to Friday, 13 October 1307. This is the day that Phillip IV of France arrested hundreds of Knights Templar. The date is also mentioned in several other books of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, including Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code.
In Spanish-speaking cultures, it's not Friday the 13th that can strike fear in many, but Tuesday the 13th. The Greeks also considered Tuesday, and especially one that falls on the 13th, to be an unlucky day.
So there's a brief history of how the superstition may, or may not, have gotten started. So now let's move on to a few fun facts about this day.
1. If you have a fear of Friday the 13th, you're not alone. It affects millions of people and businesses, especially airlines who suffer severe losses each Friday the 13th. The fear of the number 13 is so great that many buildings "skip" the 13th floor. Airports don't often have a gate 13, either. And forget about having 13 guests at a dinner party! But let's say you invited 14 people but someone cancels at the last minute, what do you do? Not to worry, if you live in Paris. They have professionals called quatorzièmes. These are people who, at a moments notice, can attend your dinner party as guest #14, should one of your friends or associates cancel.
2. Former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro may have been born on a Friday the 13th, but that didn't stop him from surviving several assassination attempts and living to be a ripe old 90!
3. US President Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to travel on the 13th; it didn't matter what day of the week it fell on.
4. Pop singer Taylor Swift considers 13 to be her lucky number. Why? She was born on December 13th and turned 13 on a Friday the 13th.
5. Rapper Tupac Shakur died on Friday the 13th.
6. Rock band Black Sabbath released their debut album on a Friday the 13th.
7. In 1908, a US Senator from Oklahoma tempted fated by submitted 13 bills on, you guessed it, Friday the 13th!
8. For there to be a Friday the 13th, the month must begin on a Sunday. So you can blame your "day of rest" for the unlucky Friday.
9. Think you can escape a Friday the 13th in a Leap Year? Think again. If January 1 falls on a Sunday, the months of January, April, and July will all have a dreaded Friday the 13th.
10. And, fittingly, Alfred Hitchcock was born on a Friday the 13th in 1899. He made his directorial debut with a movie called Number 13. Unfortunately, it was doomed from the start and never got off the ground due to financial troubles.
11. Since 1995, Finland has dedicated one Friday the 13th each year to observe National Accident Day. The day aims to raise awareness about safety, be it on the roads, at home, or in the workplace.
12. On Friday the 13th in 2029, an asteroid will safely (we hope) fly by Earth.
And, no, I'm not going to tempt fate by listing a 13th fact! ...Just in case you were expecting one. What's the best part of a Friday the 13th? It's always followed by a Saturday, the 14th! Whatever your weekend plans include, we safe, be well, and I invite you all back here on Monday.