Friday the 13th

The first and only Friday the 13th of 2016 occurs today, May 13. (Do you know the easy way to tell if a month has a Friday the 13th? The month starts on a Sunday.) The fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia, after the Greek words for thirteen and fear. Add onto that their word for Friday, and you get paraskevidekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th.

No one really knows where the superstition about that particular day comes from. There is no indication of it being considered significant earlier than the 19th century. However, it is possible that it is simply in a bad place numerically speaking, as the number 12 is considered a symbol of completeness, or a sacred number. There are 12 months of the year, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 hours of the clock, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles of Jesus, 12 Descendants of Muhammad Imams, among many incidences of the pattern historically. According to International Business Times, people have been leery of the number 13 for a long time. For instance, in ancient Babylon’s Code of Hammurabi, dating to the eighteenth century BCE, the number 13 is omitted in the list of laws. IBC says, “Thirteen is so disliked that many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue, many high-rise buildings avoid having a 13th floor, some hospitals avoid labeling rooms with the number 13 and many airports will not have a gate 13.”

There’s a particularly nasty occurrence in the middle ages. On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil.

The ironic thing is that people are so extra careful on that day, that there are actually fewer accidents and other misfortunes. So cheer up – it really is your lucky day!


Some common superstitions, quotes about Friday the 13th and about superstition in general.

A bed changed on Friday will bring bad dreams.

Any ship that sails on Friday will have bad luck.

You should never start a trip on Friday or you will meet misfortune.

Never start to make a garment on Friday unless you can finish it the same day.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Never walk under a ladder.

Knock on wood.

Monday’s child is fair of face;
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe;
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving;
Saturday’s child works hard for a living.
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
is fair and wise, good and gay.
(Note – maybe the above works. I was born on a Thursday, and now live nearly 3000 miles away from where I grew up!)

On Friday the 13th weird things are supposed to happen… Maybe I’ll get in to a relationship.–Unknown

Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive, and irrational-but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?–Judith Viorst

If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.–Groucho Marx

I had only one superstition. I made sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run.–Babe Ruth

Patriotism … is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.–Emma Goldman

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition.–Rod Serling

Find nearly 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list at

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