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

When Is the Next Friday the 13th?

July 30, 2021
Friday the 13th

Ready for Friday the 13th? Well, August 13, 2021, is considered the lucky (or unlucky?) day. Why exactly is this day often associated with good or bad luck? What is the meaning of Friday the 13th and how did this superstition even begin? Find out—and enjoy fun freaky facts!

Friday the 13th occurs one to three times each year. In many countries around the world, this date is considered unlucky and tied to misfortunate events.

When is the Next Friday the 13th?

Year  Friday the 13th Dates
2021 Friday, August 13
2022 Friday, May 13
2023 Friday, January 13
Friday, October 13
2024 Friday, September 13
Friday, December 13

Friday the 13th Origins

Let’s look back at the origins of this ominous date. 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.

Norse Mythology

Do you know the story of Loki? At a dinner with 12 of the Norse gods, Loki was not invited. However, the trouble-maker showed up, fighting ensued, and one of the most popular gods (Baldur) was killed that day.

Nights of the Templar

The predominant 20th-century theory suggests that it stemmed from an event that 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.

When the knights were burned at the stake in Paris, the order’s leader, Jacque de Molay, cried out, “God knows who is wrong and has sinned. Soon, a calamity will occur to those who have condemned us to death.” The holy warrior’s curse and wrongful death put a hex on Friday the 13th through the ages.

The burning of the Templars ( British Library/Robana/Rex)

The Last Supper

Another superstition associates Friday the 13th with the Last Supper, attended by 13 people—Jesus Christ and his 12 disciples. The number 13 is associated with Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ shortly after that Last Supper. Christ was handed to Roman soldiers the next morning and crucified on Good Friday.

Friday the 13th

Fear of Friday the 13th

No matter how the phobia came about, superstitions concerning it still abound. On Friday the 13th, some people refuse to cut their hair or nails, dine out, buy a house, start a job, conduct business, marry, or participate in any event. Other folks are so terrorized that they fear even crawling out of bed or going anywhere on this day (including Winston Churchill, who considered traveling on Friday the 13th unlucky).

As you may be aware, quite a few of today’s skyscrapers and hotels don’t have 13th floors or a room 13. 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 refers to 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 some countries, the day is considered normal or even lucky!  In other countries, the ill-fated date is a different one! In Italy, it is Friday the 17th. 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.


Friday the 13th Fun Facts 

Sure, plenty of good things happened on Friday the 13th, but to someone with friggatriskaidekaphobia, that matters not!

  • The horror novelist Stephen King is a triskie. He’s also a friggatriskaidekaphobe.
  • Franklin Roosevelt had such an irrational fear of Friday the 13 that he would avoid traveling on Fridays.
  • Jack the Ripper claimed his final victim on Friday the 13th in 1888.

Did we miss any fun facts? Share with other readers below!


Reader Comments

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I've never considered Friday the 13th scary or unlucky but...
the Lockdowns for COVID 19 in the U.S.A. started at 11p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020.
I remember vividly because my niece was flying in from Spain at 10pm & missed the cutoff for international flights by 1 hour.

Lucky day

I turned 13 on January 24, 1975 (a Thursday) and have always considered Fridays and the number to be "auspicious".


Friday 13th

My husband was born on the 13th. So it was a lucky day for me.

Friday 13th

Every day has some sort of disaster happen. So the 13th is just so stupid to be afraid of.

12 Disciples

There is a small error where this article says Judas was the 13th disciple. As mentioned just before that, there were only 12 disciples. Judas was the 13th person present. Also, as another commenter mentioned, the "Last Summer" should read the "Last Supper."

Thank You

The Editors's picture

Thank you for the heads up–and for your interest in the Old Farmer’s Almanac! We have fixed these errors.

Friday the thirteenth

Several traumatic events have occurred on Friday the 13th, including the German bombing of Buckingham Palace (September 1940); the murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York (March 1964); a cyclone that killed more than 300,000 people in Bangladesh (November 1970); the disappearance of a Chilean Air Force plane in the Andes (October 1972); the death of rapper Tupac Shakur (September 1996) and the crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy, which killed 30 people (January 2012). Not a real example of constant peril, but enough to keep the superstition alive.


DAMN I want everything to go back to normal. The last normal schoolday I had was on 13th March, 2020 (FRIDAY!) Since then, this is the third Friday, the 13th! (March 2020, November 2020, August 2021). Hope everything goes back to normal and this curse goes away.

Jack the Ripper

The ripper's last victim, Mary Kelly, was murdered in the late evening hours of Thursday, the eighth or the early morning hours of Friday, the ninth of November, 1888, not on the Thirteenth. She did, however live at thirteen Miller's Court, where the murder took place.

Friday the 13th

In Old Norse Mythology, the Tuetonic Goddess known as Freya or Frigga, was honored on Freya's Day, now called Friday, the fifth day of the week in their calendar. Her sacred number was 13, and Friday the 13th was considered to be a very auspicious day for weddings as she was the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. She drove a chariot pulled by two black cats, given to her by the Thunder God Thor, for whom Thursday is named. When the Tuetonic people were converted to Christianity around 1000 - 1100 AD, everything related to the fertility goddess had to be surpressed. Therefore, she was deemed to be a witch and banished to a high mountain. Everything associated with her was made into something bad. Hence the superstitions about Friday the 13th and the fear of Black Cats.

Friday the 13th

My daughter, was born on Frida the 13th,and this is one of the two absolutely best days of my life. She is a jewel and her prayers brought me her younger brother, although at age 5, she was praying for a big brother! God is great and dates are dates.

My Birthday 2 Years Ago Was October, Friday The 13th

I am just a kid, and my birthday is October 13th. 2 years ago my birthday was on Friday the 13th. I don't believe in the bad luck because I have never received any bad luck from it, only good luck. I was scared, but the day was perfect! I turned 9 like I was supposed to and I had fun with my family. A perfectly normal birthday. I thought it was interesting though, about the Tuesday the 13th. My birthday in another 2 years will be on Tuesday the 13th.

Awful Friday 13th

Friday, Sept.13, 2019. I was at worked and had dropped my keys in passenger seat of my car when I reached to get my pocket book. The owner of the business across the street called and told the manager there was a girl outside at my car acting strange. She told me and we ran outside but she had done drove off in my car. Misses her by seconds. We called police and he gave them her description. Now it's four days later and they haven't found it yet. With the full moon also on that day sure put a whammy on me!!! I miss my car...:(

friday the 13th

My wife and I had our 13th wedding anniversary on a Friday the 13th. 40 years next year all is well!!

Superstition Friday the 13th

My husband loved to fly fish and suggested we go fishing July 13, 2018. I said sure but did he realize it was Friday the 13th? He asked if I was superstitious & I said no just wanted to remind him of the day. We went to the river on another beautiful day in July here in Idaho. Everything was fine, I was taking lots of pictures while he prepared his fishing pole & got himself ready to enter the river. Lots of people on the river that day, Mark walked up the river a little bit and entered the water only to slip and fall in, his waders filled up with water, he was pulled under and washed down the river were he drowned. Two other fishermen pulled him out of the water and attempted CPR but he was gone. I lost my best friend and love of my life that day just 9 days before we were to celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary. To say I'm not superstitious isn't true for me anymore.

Friday the 13th

And if black cats crossing one's path on Friday the 13th is unlucky, then I'm in a heap o'trouble, because we have 4 gorgeous mini panthers that we love dearly that cross my path repeatedly every single day. ;)

I am a retired nurse.Worked

I am a retired nurse.Worked in the ER all the Friday the 13th, would always be a crazy night at work. A lot of crazy cases seem to all ways come in to the ER on that night. But also on full moon night, so today would a double trouble night!

Friday the 13th

Our step-mother was an LPN in an old folks home. She said the same thing, that it was very hard to get everyone calmed down for bedtime and some hooted and hollered all night long...
But I wonder if that had more to do with a full moon letting more light in the windows.
Anyway, thanks for what you do. Those in your profession who do their job well are angels on earth IMO.

Friday the 13th my Birthday

My Birthday Is Sept 13th,Friday,Well next year it falls on a Sunday.What Happened to Saturday?

It's a leap year.

It's a leap year.

No Fear

I have never had any fear of Friday the 13th. Last year I underwent a scheduled major surgery on Friday April 13th and everything turned out fine.

Son's lucky number

My youngest son was born September 13th. He was13 days late. It was 13 days before my birthday. He was born 13 hours after arriving to the hospital. His crib number was 13. His football jersey was #13.

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.