It’s Friday the 13th! Why is 13 considered a “bad luck” day? Discover the origins of Friday the 13th—and when the next Friday the 13th will happen. Plus, this round (April 13, 2018), Mercury is also in retrograde at the same time. Find out what this means!
Friday the 13th occurs one to three times each year. The date is considered bad luck in many countries; a day when all sorts of misfortunes are said to occur.
When is the Next Friday the 13th?
|Year||Friday the 13th Dates|
Friday, October 13, 2017
Friday, April 13, 2018
Friday, September 13, 2019
Friday, March 13, 2020
Friday the 13th Origins
Although no one knows for certain, the fear of the number 13 and the fear of Friday likely combined around the late 1800s into this new phobia; no clear mention of it had been discussed in published works before then.
One 20th-century theory suggests that it stemmed from an event that had occurred on Friday, October 13, 1307, when thousands belonging to an influential religious military order called the Knights Templar (officially, the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon) were arrested for blasphemy and other affronts at the command of France’s king, Philip IV. Many were later tortured, coerced into making false confessions, and executed.
Fear of Friday the 13th
No matter how the phobia came about, superstitions abound concerning it. On Friday the 13th, some people refuse to cut their hair or nails, dine out, travel, buy a house, start a job, conduct business, marry, or participate in any event. Other folks are so terrorized that they fear going anywhere on this day or even crawling out of bed. More than 60 million people worldwide have a phobia of Friday the 13th to varying degrees.
The fear of Friday the 13th is officially called “friggatriskaidekaphobia”; “Frigga” was the Norse god for which Friday is named and “triskaidekaphobia” means fear of the number 13. An alternate term for the anxiety is “paraskevidekatriaphobia.” Originating from Greek, paraskevi means Friday, dekatria refers to “thirteen,” and phobia translates as “fear.”
It Isn’t All Bad
Many of those who were born on Friday the 13th, or whose birthdays fall on the 13th and occasionally occur on a Friday, consider themselves immune to any negative repercussions.
In certain countries, the day is considered normal or even lucky, with some other date being ill-fated instead. For example, in some Hispanic countries, Tuesday the 13th is the unlucky one. In fact, the title of the 1980 American horror film Friday the 13th (now a cult classic) was changed to Martes 13 (“Tuesday the 13th”) for Spanish-speaking audiences.
There are 14 possible configurations for the annual calendar that determine how many Friday the 13ths will occur in the year.
- 6 of 14 years have one Friday the 13th.
- 6 of 14 years have two Fridays the 13th.
- 2 of 14 years have three Fridays the 13th.
- Months that have a Friday the 13th begin on a Sunday.
For Friday, April 13, Mercury is also in retrograde. (It began on March 23 and continues until April 15).
If you follow this sort of thing, the planet Mercury rules communication, travel, contracts, automobiles, and such. So, when Mercury is retrograde, there can be mishaps. It’s best to remain flexible, allow time for extra travel, and avoid signing contracts. See the Almanac’s Mercury Retrograde page to learn more!
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