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Friday the 13th: What's So Unlucky About That Date?

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She researches and shares remedies for using certain products for illnesses.

Friday the 13th is just like any other day on the calendar.

Friday the 13th is just like any other day on the calendar.

Friday the 13th

Many people consider Friday the 13th to be an unlucky day. That's because they are superstitious.

The 13th day falls on Friday at least once every year. However, it could happen up to three times in that same year.

  • 2017: Friday the 13th happened on January 13 and October 13.
  • 2018: Friday the 13th occurs on April 13 and July 13.
  • 2019: Friday the 13th occurs in September and December.
  • 2020: Friday the 13th will be in March and November.
  • 2021: Friday the 13th will be only in August.
  • 2022: Friday the 13th will occur only in May.

All of the months above have 31 days except April in 2018. Even so, we can't say a month having 31 days is guaranteed to have a Friday the 13th.

Not the Same in Every Country

Friday the 13th is not an unlucky day in every country. In Spanish speaking countries, Tuesday the 13th is an unlucky day. In Italy, Friday the 17th is unlucky.

The scientific name for Friday the 13th is a long one: "triskaidekaphobia." The fear of Friday the 13th is also a long one: paraskevidekatriaphobia. Paraskevi is a Greek word meaning Friday and dekatreís meaning thirteen. Of course, phobia means "the fear of."

Superstitions Surrounding Friday the 13th

There are many unlucky things for those who are superstitious. Others are not affected by any of them.

A superstition is a belief in things that are not real or possible. It is an irrational belief that comes out of ignorance or fear.

Superstitions are usually handed down from generation to generation and the same ones are common with families and communities.


Black cats

Black cats are associated with a superstition that it is unlucky for a black cat to cross your path. This is a superstition whether it happens on Friday the 13th or on some other day.

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Break a Mirror

It is a superstition that if you break a mirror, you will have seven years of bad luck. Many people have broken mirrors, but can't pinpoint any unlucky thing happening to them over seven years. They just buy another mirror and forget about the broken one.

Some people prefer to sit on a ladder than to walk under one on Friday the 13th.

Some people prefer to sit on a ladder than to walk under one on Friday the 13th.

Walking Under a Ladder

Walking under a ladder is considered bad luck. Therefore, people avoid doing that at all cost.


Spilling Salt

Some people believe it is bad luck to spill salt. If you accidentally spill it, you should throw it over your shoulder to avoid the bad luck.

Other Superstitions

Here are some common superstitions other than those listed above.

  • Some believe failing to respond to a chain letter brings on bad luck.
  • Hanging a horseshoe upside down is the belief that the good luck will 'fall out.'
  • Opening an umbrella while indoors is believed to be an unlucky act.
  • If you put your purse on the floor you will never have money in it.
  • To turn bad luck into good luck, you can always spin around seven times, but isn't turning that it also another superstition?

The Number 13

Some people think the number 13 is unlucky whether it is the date of a Friday or not. They don't want a hotel room with the number 13 or even staying on the 13th floor. That's why many hotels and hospitals don't have a 13th floor.

The floor after the 12th floor is still the 13th floor even though that number might be missing from the pad in the elevator.


The Number 13 is Lucky for Some People

The number 13 is considered a bad luck number only if a person is superstitious. On the other hand, there are some who conder the number 13 to be a lucky number.

Award-winning country pop singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is convinced that her lucky number 13. She was born on December 13, 1989. She turned 13 on Friday the 13th in 2002. Her first album went gold in 13 weeks.

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