Today is Friday the 13th.


By William Bruce.  Updated Friday, November 13, 2015.

What gives with this superstition?

Is there some evidence to support the fear?  Or is my friend Bubba Jim Beam right when he says, “there ain’t nothin’ to it.”

The fear of Friday the 13th is referred to medically as friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen).

The earliest known documented reference in English occurs in a 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th.   The author wrote:

“He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that one Friday 13th of November he died.”

However, some historians have suggested the superstition has much earlier origins.

One theory states that it is a modern combination of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.

In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness.

Many hotels and office building do not have a 13th floor.  Guests are magically transported in one story from the 12th floor to the 14th.

There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.

Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales.   Many have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. In fact, Nancy Regan’s astrologer warned her about Fridays.  Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s.

However, research seems to support the assertion of  my friend who said “there ain’t nothin’ to it.”  A recent study in Holland concluded  that “fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays.”

So what do patients with friggatriskaidekaphobia have to look forward to for the rest of the year? There are no more such days this year.  The next Friday the 13th is in May of 2016.

So what are the afflicted to do on those dates?  Again, we turn to my friend Bubba Jim Beam who advises “two shots of bourbon with breakfast.”

“It’ll get ’em get through the day.”

“In fact,” he concludes, “it’ll help you get through just about any day.”

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About William Bruce

President, American Business Brokers Association / Business Broker and Accredited Business Intermediary assisting business buyers and sellers with the transfer of ownership since 1986 / Author: How to Buy a Business.
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7 Responses to Today is Friday the 13th.

  1. Margaret Lee says:

    This is very interesting! I’ve never known the origin of the superstition. I don’t have a fear of Friday 13th’s, however I am very superstitious of the number 13! I will go out of my way to not have 13 of whatever the items may be on any given day. For example, I purposefully left out an extra diamond in my add a diamond bracelet because it would have made 13 stones. Please note that these are very small diamonds. They were traded from a ring that my husband acquired from one of his many vehicle “flip” transactions. Moreover, The funny thing is that the jeweler didn’t think much about it when I told him I didn’t want 13 stones in the bracelet. I’m waiting to get the 14th diamond! Thanks for the interesting legend, Daddy!

  2. Hey Margaret, it was a fun topic to research. I didn’t realize that you were a triskaidekaphobia person. Love you, Daddy.

  3. Bruce Miller says:

    Since I am not a Knights Templar and we are not in the 12th century I am not concerned. It is a beautiful day though, I am grateful I live here along the gulf coast.

  4. Bruce, thanks for visiting. I came across a mention of the Knights Templar in the research. Seems a bunch of them were arrasted in France on a Friday the 13th in the early 1300s.

  5. Walt O'Roark says:

    Will, I am not a superstitious man, but I am a baseball fan so I guess I am not willing to say that there is nothing to such things. This is why I never have that 13th beer of the day.

  6. Really? I could have sworn that I had seen you down the 13th beer — on more than one occasion.

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