Superstitious? This Is Why Everyone Is Scared of Friday the 13th

You’ve heard that Friday the 13th is considered unlucky, but you probably have no idea why. Get all the superstitious details on the day here.

Samantha Faragalli Younghans - Author

Oct. 11 2023, Updated 8:20 p.m. ET

Friday the 13th highlighted on a calendar
Source: iStock

The Gist:

  • People can be superstitious year round, but many people are on edge on Friday the 13th.
  • Some people think that the number 13 is unlucky.
  • Friday can have bad connotations because Jesus was crucified on a Friday and back in history, executions were held on Fridays.
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Sometimes we just can't help but be superstitious. Broken mirrors, white lighters, black cats, spilled salt... it all, supposedly, brings bad luck. So people enjoy it and others dread the day.

But the granddaddy of them all, Friday the 13th, has had people hiding behind locked doors for the past 100 or so years. So, why is Friday the 13th considered unlucky? Scroll down for everything we know!

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Why is Friday the 13th considered unlucky?

On any Friday the 13th throughout each year, people may be afraid to leave their house because they're scared something bad will happen. Even weirder? This condition actually has a name, and it's paraskavedekatriaphobia, which means fear of Friday the 13th. But where did this bizarre myth actually come from?

Friday the 13th sign being struck by lightening
Source: iStock
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To no surprise, it seems almost unbelievable. It's important to note, however, that we consider the number 13 and the day Friday unlucky for different reasons.

As for the 13th, there's apparently one theory associated with the Bible. Judas betrayed Jesus, and he ended up being the 13th guest at the Last Supper. Perhaps this is why it's considered unlucky to this day to have 13 people sitting at the dinner table.

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The other theory, however, is a bit more mythical. In a Norse myth, 12 gods were having dinner at Valhalla when a 13th guest arrived unannounced. That guest was Loki, an evil and mischievous god who convinced another one of the gods to kill his brother. Yikes!

A Friday the 13th tarot card
Source: Getty Images
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That said, these 13th guests have basically made history for their wrongdoings. For example, you sometimes won't see a 13th floor in a large building, and some planes don't even have a 13th row — all because it's considered to be bad luck.

But why is the day Friday so unlucky when there are six other days in a week? Even though it's arguably the best day of the week (hello, weekend!), Jesus was allegedly crucified on a Friday. A 19th-century American tradition also held all executions on Fridays, which really did not help the situation at all.

And to make matters worse, Chaucer noted in The Canterbury Tales, "And on a Friday fell all this mischance." Spooky!

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Friday the 13th graphic
Source: iStock

So, should we be worried about Friday the 13th? Probably not. It seems like it's just all in our heads, and just a running tradition that we can't seem to shake. Plus, we can't blame ourselves for thinking that being superstitious is really fun and mysterious.

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On top of that, Friday the 13th doesn't exactly span to every culture. Italians consider Friday the 17th unlucky, while Greek and Spanish-speaking countries find Tuesday the 13th to be unlucky.

How many Friday the 13ths have we experienced in 2023?

Including the upcoming Friday, we will experience two Friday the 13ths this year. The first one was early in the year on Jan. 13, 2023.

And don't think 2024 will be any better. We'll be having double that year, as well!

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