The Mysteries of Friday the 13th

Why are so many people superstitious about this date?

Our superstitions can have strong holds on us and many people feel that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. Keep in mind that, “tomorrow is another day,” and that things will work out. And remember, Friday the 13th is only one day long.


According to Time in partnership with CNN, some historians feel that thirteen often referred to as an unlucky number, dates back to before 1700BC since, “the ancient Babylon’s Code of Hammurabi omits the number thirteen in its lists of laws.” An article in National Geographic’s Daily News states that 13 may be unlucky because it comes after the number 12, which numerologists consider a “complete” number. Fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia.

Why Friday?

Friday has been considered an unlucky day because many scholars believe Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday, Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday, and that Abel was killed by his brother Cain on Friday the 13th.

When Did Friday the 13th Become a Day of Bad Luck?

Thomas Lawson, a Boston stockbroker, published his novel Friday the Thirteenth in 1907. It was about, “an evil businessman’s attempt to crash the stock market on the unluckiest day of the month.” The book was very popular and was made into a silent movie in 1916. Friday the 13th has been generally accepted as an unlucky day since that time.


An estimated 17-21 million Americans have a phobia about Friday the 13th that causes them to feel anxious, rearrange schedules and miss work. Many people refuse to travel, invest, or make big purchases such as buying a home on this day. For more Friday the 13th myths, click here.

The Movies

In 1980, Paramount Pictures released the horror film, Friday the 13th. It was so successful that many more scary Friday the 13th films followed. No wonder so many people don’t like and are afraid of Friday the 13th!

This article was original published May 13, 2011

Alana Joli Abbott May 13, 2011 at 12:52 PM
I hadn't heard some of those Biblical traditions -- the Adam and Eve one does make sense (although they would hardly have had a calendar in Eden; scholars figure backwards, I suppose). How in the world did the scholars come up with Abel being killed on Friday the 13th, though? Inquiring minds would love to know more! :)
Deborah St. Thomas May 13, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Good question. So many articles claim this fact but with the quick search I did I cannot find out why! Who are these scholars?
SolarPete April 13, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Friday the 13th is just like Friday the 14th 13 is really a lucky number as are black cats, If you toss salt over your shoulder u might get it into someones eyes What kind of luck is that. Yet folks in New England remember these dates cause something bad happened. Puritizum


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