There is no single origin story on why Friday the 13th is ‘unlucky’

July 13, 2018 - 1:15 PM
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The mask worn by Jason Vorhees, the villain of the Friday the 13th horror franchise. (Photo by Flickr usrer ESPARTA/Wikicommons)

It’s Friday the 13th in the Philippines. For some, it might be just another day in an already stress-filled work week while others think a little superstition is conducive to making it to the weekend alive.

What could be behind this superstition that has survived well into the digital age?

Day of bad luck

Friday the 13th is a day that brings mixed reactions from the populace. For some, it’s just another day in a life that’s already full of misfortune.

For some, divine intervention is the best shield against whatever bad luck that might come.

Still a trending topic in the age of social media, the impact of the Friday the 13th superstition has been felt for centuries.

Fear of the misfortune supposedly brought by the ominous date has a name: ‘paraskevidekatriaphobia.’ The adjacent fear of the number ’13’, often associated with bad luck also has a name: ‘triskaidekaphobia.’

According to an article by The Independent, there is no single origin story behind the superstition.

However, a number of notorious events have been associated with the date. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the mass execution of members of the Knights Templar in 1307 are among the tragedies believed to have taken place on a Friday the 13th.

Other narratives that helped feed the apprehension include the writings of 14th century scribe Geoffrey Chaucer, who described Friday as the day when bad luck tended to fall on, and the legend that the traitorous Judas Iscariot was the 13th guest on Jesus Christ’s table during his last supper.

One modern day study meanwhile has found a reason to actually fear the date. A 1993 study published by the British Medical Journal found that an uncannily high number of traffic accidents took place on a Friday the 13th, at least compared to Friday the 6th.

A blockbuster horror series about a masked serial killer that strikes every Friday the 13th has also helped fuel the notoriety.