FRIDAY the 13th is a day when people steer clear of walking under ladders and take extra care when seeing a black cat but where does the superstition of the day come from?
The date has been associated with different events throughout history although there is no written evidence of superstition before the nineteenth century but there are other instances that could have created the unlucky connotations of the day.
• Friday the 13th is believed to have been the date of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Catholicism, the day after the last supper, leading to a common belief the day is unlucky.
• As well as the crucifixion, there were 13 guests at the last supper, again cementing the superstition in Christianity.
• The number 13 was thought to be unlucky dating back before the Christian era but it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that they were linked.
• In medieval times the day was thought to be a day for Devil-worshipers.
• Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday 13 whereas Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13.
• Many hospitals have no room 13.
• Most airports don’t have a Gate 13.
• In the 14th century Geoffrey Chaucer referenced Friday as being an unlucky day in his Canterbury Tales, being one of the first literary depictions of the day being unlucky.
• In Britain a Friday was usually a day where criminals where hanged.
• Sailors believed it to be an unlucky day to set sail on.
There have been unfortunate events on Friday the 13th that have added to people’s fears of the day:
•On Friday, October 13, 1972, a Chilean aeroplane crashed in the Andes with 16 survivors turning up two months later. They had been forced to eat dead passengers in order to survive. and the events formed the basis for the film Alive.
• The rapper Tupac Shakur died from gunshot wounds on Friday, September 13, 1996, six days after being shot multiple times in Las Vegas.
• The Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground on Friday, January 13, 2012, off the western coast of Italy killing 30 people.