What is the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition?

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The convergence of two superstitions between the number 13 and Friday seem to be at the heart of many questions concerning this particular superstition. So lets start with those.


FRIDAY has been an inauspicious day for a very long time, and in many varied cultures. It has been held to be both unlucky and as a day when evil influences are at work.

In Ancient Rome, Friday was execution day.

In some pre-Christian Religions Friday was a day of worship, so those who involved themselves in secular or self-interested activities on that day were not likely to receive the blessings of the gods on their undertakings. Which may go a long way to explain the superstition of not embarking on journeys or starting important projects on Fridays.

From the Christian bible:
- Friday is reputed to be the day Eve gave Adam the apple.
- It is said to be the day Adam & Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden.
- Friday is also reputed to be the day they (Adam & Eve) died.
- The Great Flood is supposed to have started on a Friday.
- God was said to have struck the builders of the Towel of Babel and created the confusion of many tongues, on a Friday.
- The Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday.
- Christ was crucified and died on a Friday.

In Britain, Friday was customarily Hanging Day.

It is said accidents are more common on Fridays, however, that may be more because Friday is the end of the work week and people are hurrying to get away from work, than any sinister reasons.

It is supposed that witches favour Friday for coven gatherings. This Pagan association was not lost on the early Christian Church, which went to considerable lengths to suppress them. If Friday was a holy day for "heathens" the Church fathers felt it must not be so for Christians, hence in the middle ages Friday became known as the "Witches' Sabbath."

The name "Friday" is derived from the Norse goddess known either as Frigg - wife of Odin (the goddess of marriage & fertility, the moon & witches) or Freya (goddess of love, beauty, sensuality, war, good fortune, magic & wisdom). To complicate matters the two goddesses are combined and used interchangeably by many, however, the etymology of Friday has been given both ways.
Pre-Christian Teutonic people actually considered Friday to be lucky, particularly for wedding, because of its association with the aforementioned goddesses. This however changed when the Christian church came into ascendancy. Frigg/Freya was re-cast in folklore as a witch and her day became associated with evil doings.
Various legends developed in that vein, one however, is of particular interest:
As the legend goes, the witches of the north used to observe their Sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, (Freya herself) came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group, who numbered only twelve at the time, and gave them one of her cats, after which the witches' coven, and, by "tradition," every properly-formed coven since, is comprised of thirteen members.

Other superstitions concerning Friday include:

- Clothing made on a Friday will never fit properly.

- Visiting your doctor on Friday will not have a good result.

- Never change your bed on a Friday, as it will result in nightmares and bad dreams.

- One should not move their residence or marry on a Friday, if they expect any good to come of it.

- Cut your nails of Friday and you cut them for sorrow.

- Ill news received on a Friday will etch wrinkles in the face of the recipient, more so than the same news received on any other day.

- Friday is an inauspicious day to start a trip as "misfortune will bound to follow."

- Ships that set sail on Friday will have bad luck. ~ This superstition is supported by the Urban legend of the H.M.S. Friday.
It is reported that, in an attempt to debunk the many sailors' superstitions centered around Fridays, the British government commissioned a special ship. They named it the H.M.S. Friday; the crew was selected on a Friday, the keel was set on a Friday, and she was launched on a Friday. They even went so far as to hire a man named Friday to captain her. It was on a Friday that she set sail on her maiden voyage, and as the story goes, was never heard of again.

Children born on Fridays are believed by some to be unlucky, but they will enjoy the gifts of second sight and healing powers.
On the other side of things, the old nursery rhyme says "Friday's child is loving and giving", so not all cultures agreed that Friday was a bad day to be born.

An old proverb said "If you laugh on Friday you will cry on Sunday,"

There are those who say the weather on Friday will be repeated on Sunday.


The number THIRTEEN is much maligned, The prejudice against the number is more or less planet wide. The Turks are said to have so disliked the number so much that it was all but eradicated from their vocabulary. In fact there are so many people with a fear (triskaidekaphobia) of the number thirteen, that many will go to great lengths to avoid any association with it. This is why there are cities that do not have a thirteenth Street or Avenue, highways often do not have a thirteenth exit, many airports do not have a thirteenth gate and many buildings do not have rooms and in some cases floors number thirteen.

The number thirteen is associated with the supposed number of members in a witches' coven. As the legend goes, the witches of the north used to observe their Sabbath by gathering in a cemetery in the dark of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, (Freya herself) came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group, who numbered only twelve at the time, and gave them one of her cats, after which the witches' coven, and, by "tradition," every properly-formed coven since, is comprised of thirteen members.
It is also interesting to note in this story, the possible origin of the belief that a witch's familiar is a cat.

One of the most commonly known and observed superstitions concerning the number thirteen, has to do with dining. It is said to be incredibly unlucky to be invited to dinner and have thirteen people at table.
The belief is that the first person to rise from table and/or the last person to sit down at the table are destined to die within the calendar year. The only way to avoid this is for everyone to be seated and to rise from the table at the same time. Not an easy feat, however, there is some hope for everyone's survival if two or more of the people at dinner are seated at another/separate table.
- This superstition is said to originate with the Last Supper at which Judas Iscariot was the last person to take a seat at table.
- The superstition is also said to have originated in the East with the Hindus, who believed, for their own reasons, that it is always unlucky for thirteen people to gather in one place at one time, say - at dinner.
- Interestingly enough, precisely the same superstition has been attributed to the ancient Vikings. There is an old Norse legend that seems tailor made for continuing this trend;
As the story goes, twelve gods were invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, (god of mischief) had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to thirteen. True to character, Loki incited Hod (the blind god of darkness and winter) into attacking Balder the Good (fairest of the gods). Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved.
This tale apparently explains why the Norse themselves adhere to the belief that thirteen people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.

One of the more perplexing suggestions of origin is that the fears surrounding the number thirteen are as ancient as the act of counting. This speculative explanation suggests, primitive man had only his ten fingers and two feet to represent units, so he could count no higher than twelve. What lay beyond that -thirteen- was an unfathomable mystery to our prehistoric antecedents, hence an object of fear, confusion and superstition. Which has the feel of possible truth, but my first thought was, those self-same humans didn't wear shoes, so why didn't they use their toes to count with as well?

There is also a theory which has a ring of truth to it that suggests that the number thirteen may have been purposely vilified by the founders of patriarchal religions in the early days of western civilization because it represented femininity.
Thirteen had been revered in prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures, we are told, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (and coincidentally, menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days).
The "Earth Mother of Laussel," for example, a 27,000 year old carving found near the Lascaux caves in France is often cited as an icon of matriarchal spirituality. It depicts a female figure holding a crescent-shaped horn bearing thirteen notches.
It is speculated that as the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar with the rise of male-dominated civilization and religions, so did the "perfect" number 12 over the "imperfect" number 13, thereafter considered anathema.

It is said that if you have thirteen letters in your name you will have the "Devil's luck." There may be some truth in that as Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all had thirteen letters in their names.

More superstitions about the number thirteen include:

- There are thirteen steps leading to the gallows.

- There are thirteen knots in a hangman's noose.

- It is thirteen feet the blade of a guillotine falls.

- There were thirteen people at the last supper.

- Lizzy Borden was said to have spoken only thirteen words at her trial.

- There were thirteen original colonies.

- The US Seal has thirteen stars, bars, and feathers in the eagle's tail. The eagle carries thirteen bars in one claw, thirteen olive branches in the other.

- E pluribus Unum has thirteen letters.

- Ancient Romans regarded the number thirteen as a symbol of death, destruction and misfortune.

- The thirteenth card in a Tarot deck is "Death" often pictured as the Grim Reaper (a skeleton, often in a hooded cape, carrying a scythe). It should be noted however, that the Death card is rarely if ever read as "death" but as transition, change or new beginnings.

- The driver of Princess Diana's vehicle hit pillar #13 at Place de l'Alma when she was killed in Paris, France.

- Apollo 13. In 1970, the thirteenth mission was to be launched from pad #39 (13 x 3). The mission was aborted, after an explosion occurred in the fuel cell of their service module. The rocket had left launching pad at 13:13 CST and the date was April 13th.

.- In France, a "quatrorzieme" is a professional 14th guest hired by people who had only thirteen guests in attendance for dinner, and who felt that was unlucky.

- A baker's dozen is a term used to describe bakery items such as rolls, or doughnuts sold in a pack of thirteen. I have heard many explanations for this, however, the following is pretty much exemplary of them.
The story tells of a witch near Albany, NY who demanded thirteen items every time she came in to a particular bakery. One day the old bake, who could not afford her extra biscuit, refused her. She is said to have sneered some strange words at the man, and thereafter he suffered terrible luck, until he brought her another thirteen rolls. After that life was once again easy for the baker and word spread around town. The custom is still sometimes practiced today.

The prejudice against the number thirteen is of obscure and ancient origin, as it existed in Roman times long before Christ, and the last supper.
Perhaps of interest, is that the Chinese consider thirteen to be a lucky number.

The ancient Egyptians revered thirteen was the number of the last step a soul took on its journey to eternity, twelve steps taken in life and the final one at death into the eternal glory of the afterlife. Thus making the thirteenth step a joyous one. It is only after the Civilizations of the Pharaohs were ancient history that the association of the number thirteen with death became one of fear instead of one of celebration.

There are some schools of thought that attribute the thirteenth step into the afterlife to be of Hindu origins.


FRIDAY the THIRTEENTH is believed to be the most widespread superstition.
There isn't much documentation prior to the nineteenth century, on why humankind decided to amalgamate the two superstitions, other than the obvious one, in that the thirteenth of a month falls on a Friday between one and three times a year and someone was bound to eventually put two and two, or in this case thirteen and Friday into one day with a really nasty reputation.

The earliest traceable reference to the combination is from the biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. In the book The Life of Rossini, by Henry Sutherland Edwards, it says: "[Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; and if it be true that, like so many other Italians, he regarded Friday as an unlucky day, and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday, the 13th of November, he died."

There is a theory that notes references to the superstition are nonexistent prior to 1907, and argues that the Thomas Lawson novel Friday the 13th is what has given rise to the popularity of the superstition. The book, all but forgotten now, concerned dirty dealings in the stock market and sold quite well in its day. It seems unlikely that the novelist, literally invented that premise himself. He treats it within the story, in fact, as a notion that already existed in the public consciousness. This may have set it on a path to becoming the most widespread superstition in modern times, it certainly was readily adopted and popularized by the press.

There is evidence to show that although most people will claim not to be superstitious, businesses, worldwide, show a marked decline in sales etc. on Fridays the thirteenth, as many choose to put off business decisions, investments of money, business and personal travel and even personal events such as weddings. Many others choose not to go in to work, eat in restaurants, go to movies, theatrical performances or to entertain in their homes on that day.

It has been known for the departure of certain ocean liners to be delayed until after midnight to appease passengers' fears of setting sail on a Friday the 13th.

According to Dr Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of phobias (and the man who coined the term paraskevidekatriaphobia, sometimes spelled paraskavedekatriaphobia), there may be as many as 21 million people in the United States that currently suffer from some form of the phobia. If he is right, eight percent of Americans are still in the grips of a very old superstition.

There has been research in Britain showing there are fewer cars on the road on a Friday 13th than on any other Friday, and yet there are more accidents reported.

Friday, January the 13th 1939 is one example people hold up for the belief the day is inauspicious. In Australia, on that day, a devastating bushfire swept across southern Victoria, killing 71 people.

Another supposed origin of the Friday the 13th superstition comes from the historical destruction of the Knights Templar.
The Dan Brown novel The Da Vinci Code and the Movie of the same name, (directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks) popularized the thought that the superstition is tied to the mass arrest of the Knights Templar. Secretly ordered by King Philip of France, (and Holy Roman Emperor, Pope Clement V) the mass arrest, of all the Knights Templar in France happened on Friday, October 13, 1307. The eventual condemnation, and eradication of the Knights Templar was to follow. The King of France and the Pope got the spoils, and a date was cemented in time.

Very nearly everyone you ask has a theory about the origin of the Friday the thirteenth superstition, and no few of them will happily share some frightening or apocryphal story to back it up. And in all honesty most of us enjoy a good "scary tale," as evidenced by the popularity of the series of movies titled "Friday 13th" 1 through 705 (okay, I will admit that may be a bit of an exaggeration)
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How do superstitions originate?

Ignorance of Phenomena . As science now can explain these phenomena, superstition decreases.. BTW, Ignorance is the mother of Superstitions, and Superstition is the mother of religions... Answer . Falsely assuming a cause and effect.. If you kick a goat on your way to school and get an F on ( Full Answer )

What is the meaning of Friday the 13th?

How some people put it superstition or bad luck.it started as a myth that there was a party of 12 gods but one devious god came to the party and there were 13 gods instead of 12 so that killed 1 of the favorites of gods they blamed it on on the unwanted god so from the years then to now people belie ( Full Answer )

How often does Friday the 13th occur?

See proof at http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Does_every_year_contain_at_least_one_Friday_the_13th Addendum: If you count the occurrences of each number in mod 7, you will know how many times Friday the 13th will occur at most or minimum. 3 comes up 3x, but let's not forget leap year. We'd get 0 3x, but ( Full Answer )

Origin of superstition?

To day we have access to all most every thing in hand since scientific tool is available. but the people in ancient days were fully dependent on nature and compelled to live on belief system. it originated superstitions.

Where did superstition originate?

Those things which we now know and call superstitions originated first as beliefs often connected to a religion and were handed down by word of mouth and people that lived during those times honestly and truly believed in the truth of them as much as we do with our own beliefs connected to our relig ( Full Answer )

What is the Origin of Friday the 13th?

Friday the thirteenth is considered to be unlucky because it is the day that the Roman Catholic Church chose to murder/assassinate every single member and supporter of the Knights Templar. They very nearly succeeded in making the entire Order of the Knights Templar extinct.

Where was Friday the 13th filmed?

The original Friday the 13th was filmed at Camp Nobebosco, in Blairstown, New Jersey. Camp Nobebosco is still a functioning summer camp.

Is Friday the 13th an unlucky day?

Answer 1 No. It's just superstition. In Spain, Tuesday the 13th is considered unlucky (NOT Friday the 13th) Answer 2 It's just like any other day, but it is unlucky if people choose to have an unlucky day on that day,

Why is Friday 13th bad luck?

It is bad luck only if you believe that Friday 13 th is bad luck. Otherwise, it is just a normal day. A Catholic Pope failed an attempt to annihilate a secret society on a Friday 13 th .

What was the last Friday the 13th?

The last Friday the 13th Movie that came out was Jason goes to Hell soon on the 13th of Febuary The new remake comes out!

Who was born on Friday the 13th?

There are currently about 5 million people alive that were born on Friday the 13th, and increasing.

The story behind Friday the 13th?

According to some experts, the belief that Friday the 13th is a particularly unlucky day is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day. It is not an ancient superstition, and it does not refer to any particular historical Fr ( Full Answer )

What is Friday the 13th about?

The Order of the Knights Templar was destroyed when their members across Europe were murdered simultaneously on a Friday 13th, so the date came to be feared as a harbinger of great evil.

Origin of Friday of 13th?

Friday the 13th was first established in 1501. This was when it was beleived the Friday was supposed to be just and unlucky day, the 13th or not. Everyone took precaution on Friday. Friday would've just stayed an unlucky day, but a poor soul from northern France came in England, and started telling ( Full Answer )

How did Friday the 13th become Black Friday?

Black Friday has several meanings 1) the Friday after the American Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest shopping days in the retail calendar. 2) the last Friday before Christmas 3) Friday 13th For more information on the Friday the 13th superstition please see the related Question l ( Full Answer )

Why in Friday the 13th what is so scary about Friday?

Because Friday the 13th is an always will be an unlucky day. My one friend fell over 3 plant pots, my other friend caught chicken pox and my other friend recently broke her wrist. My sister's friend and my sister died in 1996 Friday the 13th the year i was born

What about Friday the 13th?

The first Friday the 13th film was released in 1980. Since then, there has been 9 sequels, 1 hybrid film (Freddy Vs. Jason) and 1 remake/re-imagining that came out most recently (2009). So, in total there are 12 "Jason" films. About half of the films actually came out on Friday the 13th as a mark ( Full Answer )

What if you turn 13 on Friday the 13th?

13 is just a number and nothing more i believe and nothing really matters as long as you don't believe in it. But even something you don't believe to exist it still does. So if someone turned 13 on Friday the 13th it would be either a coincidence or a bad sign. Depending on the person always

If your birthday is on Friday the 13th when will you have another birthday on Friday the 13th?

The recurrence of a Friday the 13th birthday depends on the month and year in which you were born. Identical calendar years repeat on 6, 11, or 28 year cycles, but any monthly Friday the 13th will occur every 6, 5, 6, and 11 years. Example : February 13th birthday occurs in 1914, 1920, 1925, 1931 ( Full Answer )

Is it possible to have a year with no Friday the 13th?

No. Every year has at least one Friday 13th, the most recent yearwith only one Friday 13th was 2011, with May 13th falling onFriday. The longest amount of time that can occur without a Friday13th is fourteen months (1 year 2 months).

Explain why Black Friday - Friday 13th?

Strange how Friday's seem to get extra attention. Black Friday refers to the shopping holiday, thanks in part to retailers, going "black" in accounting terms (meaning they now make profit for the holiday season on the much celebrated shopping day). Friday the 13th was made popular by the horror m ( Full Answer )

Who is villain in Friday the 13th movie?

Mrs. Voorhees is the original killer/villain, but her son's name is Jason Voorhees. He is the main villain in the rest of the franchise.

What should you not do on Friday 13th?

All you need to do is don't worry! Theres nothing bad about it its just a myth! (after writting this remembers its Friday the 13th tomorrow) errrm mabey just.....

How do you get bad luck on Friday the 13th?

You were awakened by a bird flying into your bedroom from your bedroom window. After you got up you stated to shave and you broke the bathroom mirror. While eating breakfast you spilt some salt. It was time to go to work, but you noticed it was raining so you opened a umbrella in the house. So you n ( Full Answer )

What does the date Friday the 13th have to do with Christianity?

Friday the 13th has nothing to do with Christianity. Because Jesus Christ was believed to have been crucified on Friday,the day before the Jewish Sabbath, and because there were thirteenpeople present at the Last Supper (Jesus and the 12 disciples),some people made the connection that linking Friday ( Full Answer )

When is the next Friday the 13th in 2012?

Friday The 13th in 2012 is in January it's written: Friday 13th 2012 or 13/01/2012 so on January the 12th when you go to sleep you better get ready for some bad luck , You really shouldn't climb anything you can fall off. So remember the next Friday the 13th in 2012 is on Friday the 13th January 2 ( Full Answer )

How was your birthday on Friday 13th?

My birthday was on Friday the 13th And I went to Bobby Mackey's And I saw at least 23 ghost an dI thought that was pretty cool until they started throwing stuff at me.

When did February 13th fall on a Friday?

The last time February 13 fell on a Friday was 2009. The next time will be 2015. In both years, March 13 is also a Friday the 13th.

How old is Friday the original 13th?

During the High Middle Ages the Knights Templars served as bankers for pilgrims, among other important duties. King Philip IV of France was facing a shortage of money and ordered all of the Templars to be captured. The Knights Templars were burned alive on Friday the 13th in 1307.

How many Friday the 13th are there in 2014?

well, since there 12 months a year, 10 years in a decade, 365 days in a year, 28-31 days in a month, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds a minute, Mars has 2 moons, 69 backwards and upside down is 69, 100 years in a century, 10 figures and 10 toes, so i'd have to say... ( Full Answer )

Why is Friday 13th considered to be unlucky?

Friday the 13th is considered to be unlucky because the number 13 is considered to be an unlucky number. 13 is considered to be an unlucky number because many people are superstitious.

What is Friday the 13th uncut?

The definition of 'uncut' just means they left in some deletedscenes that weren't in the original version.