Today is Friday 13th, also dubbed the ‘unluckiest day of the year’.
The superstition is held by many countries in the Western world, from the UK to the US, Canada and other parts of Europe – it has even formed the basis of a classic horror franchise.
And it’s not the only Friday 13th you’ll be getting this year either, with another one due in October.
But the history of the meaning behind today goes much further back than this year. In fact, it goes hundreds of years back.
So why does Friday 13th have the reputation of being unlucky? Here’s what you need to know…
Why is Friday 13th considered unlucky?
Many believe the superstition started in the Middle Ages and is rooted in the crucifixion as Jesus Christ was betrayed on a Friday and there were 13 individuals present at the Last Supper.
As a result, Friday and the number 13 were perceived as unlucky but they weren’t paired until the 19th century.
In 1869, Henry Sutherland Edwards’ biography of composer Gioachino Rossini mentioned the day of his death (Friday the 13th) was significant.
He 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 on Friday 13th of November he passed away.
In 1907, the fated date also appeared in a novel by Thomas W. Lawson which was appropriately named ‘Friday, the Thirteenth
The novel, which follows a stockbroker who decides to create panic around the date in order to manipulate the markets starts: ‘It begins: ‘Friday, the 13th; I thought as much. If Bob has started, there will be hell, but I will see what I can do.’
Some also believe the day found its origins in 1307 when King Philip IV of France tortured and burned alive hundreds of Templar Knights.
Truthfully, no-one knows, but one thing is clear: there does seem to be a lot of bad luck floating around on this date.
The fear of Friday 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia (and, on that note, the fear of long words is called hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia).
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