Why is Friday the 13th Unlucky? | Origin of Friday the 13th

When is the Next Friday the 13th?

November 7, 2018
Friday the 13th Cat

Why is Friday the 13th considered a “bad luck” day? Discover the origins of this superstitious day—and when the next Friday the 13th will occur!

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, September 13, 2019
Friday, December 13, 2019


Friday, March 13, 2020
Friday, November 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.

Friday the 13th

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.

Calendar Clues

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.

Have a story to tell about your experience with Friday the 13th? Share it with other readers below!


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Reader Comments

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Friday the 13th

Although I am not superstitious; I have 13 letters in my first and middle name, I was born on Friday the 13th and my 13th birthday was on Friday the 13. I count each day lucky because I know my Lord is in control of all my days.

Good Luck!

Many countries consider 13 a Lucky #. In China it is very lucky and also in Israel.
Those who see it as an unlucky # need to evolve, and stop promoting evil.
Good Luck to all Today!!

Friday 13

My father proposed to my mother on a Friday the 13th and they have been married for over 67 years!

Friday the 13th

My Mom's Birthday would be today. M/y oldest daughter was born on November 13th and her first Birthday was on Friday the 13th. She got many nice things on her first Birthday. I once flew on an airplane from Buffalo, New York on Friday the 13th and my seat was #13 and we flew thru a thunder storm. So, this day had given me many blessings. A mom who I miss and love. A daughter I love and adore and a day to remember.

The number 13

I was 13 years old on Friday the 13th. My oldest son was the 13th baby born at his hospital on Friday the 13th, when I was 2 times 13 years old. When my oldest was 13, and I was 3 times 13 I had my second son. It was not on the 13th, but he weighed 9 pounds 13 ounces, and was born at 9:13. In the year 2013, I was 5 times 13, my oldest was 3 times 13, and my youngest was 2 times 13. Needless to say, 13 is never bad luck in our family. Everywhere we turn the number 13 shows up and we are always excited.

The Number 13

Never had a big fear of the number 13.Not to get too biblical but Jesus and the 12 Apostles equal 13.Don't get me going on the number 6!That's also bible related.Hate the number 6.In 10 years Ill be in my 60s so already kind of freaking out about that and I was born on a 6.But okay with 13.

Friday the 13th

It is just another day in my life. Today I turned 78 years young. What a life, great. Good and bad luck is in your mind. Remember who died on Friday at 3 P M. J

A Historically Lucky Friday the 13th, Sort Of

We're coming up on 75th anniversary of one of the luckiest, at least in some ways, not so in others, Friday the 13th's in history: The Bloody Battle of Friday the 13th: November 13, 1942. On the island of Guadalcanal, a bloody, stubborn, seesaw stalemate had continued for some months, with America ruling the day from unsinkable Henderson Field and Japan ruling the night with the world's best torpedoes, but now both the United States and Japan were making a big push for final victory. America landed its troops first but 2 Japanese battleships were spotted heading for Guadalcanal to shell Henderson Field out of action, and Admiral Halsey didn't want to release the only 2 battleships he had from protecting the damaged but only operational aircraft carrier, Enterprise, he had, so it fell to cruisers and destroyers. Everyone knew it was going to be a suicide attack, and triskaidekaphobes were going crazy: early in the morning of Friday the 13th, the 5 cruisers and 8 destroyers (5+8=13) of Task Force 67 (6+7=13) were going to try to stop 2 battleships, with the 13th in line being the USS Fletcher, DD-445 (4+4+5=13). Exactly what happened on that moonless night is unclear to this day, but in general the 13 ships of Task Force 67 plowed into the utterly surprised Japanese for a 20 minute battle, at rock throwing range. The American fleet was shot and torpedoed to pieces, suffering twice the Japanese casualties, but they put something like 130 hits into the lead Japanese battleship, Hiei, leaving her an unsteerable, burning wreck, and a good target for the vultures of Henderson Field, upon which not a shot had fallen. The battle would take two more days and nights, including a battleship battle on the 14th-15th, but most of the credit for victory belongs to the desperate men of Task Force 67 (number since retired from active use) who despite all the odds and 13's against it, stopped a battleship with gunfire... at point blank range. Incidentally, the 5 Sullivan Brothers perished in this fight as their cruiser, Juneau, was torpedoed until her keel was broken that night and later that morning blown sky high by a Japanese submarine.

Friday the 13th.

Today is October 13, 2017 and it's "Friday".
I turned 58 years old at 8:15am this morning and I have always considered Friday the 13th to be just like any other day. Except when it's my Birthday!!! :))

Friday the 13th

i got married on friday april 13 2012, on purpose. i love Friday the 13th, always have. my mom was born on the 13th and married my stepdad on the 13th, we both loved it when it fell on a friday. i am thrilled to know my next wedding anniversary will be a Friday the 13th!!!

Friday the 13th, a lucky day

I had a medical procedure on a Friday the 13th, and it was such fun. The doctor and I were telling jokes, what fun. It was a successful outpatient operation and ever since, I knew that Friday the 13th is not unluckier than any other day.

Friday 13th

I've always thought it was lucky. For me, at least, something good always happens on Friday 13th. No, it's not my birthday. Mine is 9/11. No further comment!