With Jan. 13, 2017, falling on a Friday, here are 13 facts about the date that is synonymous with bad luck and superstitions.
The apprehension surrounding Friday the 13th may have biblical origins, as Christ’s crucifixion is believed to have taken place on a Friday. Thirteen was also the number of guests present at the Last Supper, and the apostle Judas, who would later betray Jesus with the infamous Kiss of Judas, supposedly was the 13th person seated at the table, according to the New Testament.
The scientific term for the fear of Friday the 13th is “paraskavedekatriaphobia,” derived from the Greek words “paraskeví” meaning “Friday” and “dekatreís” meaning “thirteen.” Another term used to refer to the irrational fear of Friday the 13th is “friggatriskaidekaphobia” with “Frigga” referring to the Norse goddess and seer Frigg, after whom Friday is named in English.
During World War II, five German bombs hit Buckingham Palace in the U.K. on Friday, Sept. 13, 1940, and destroyed the Palace Chapel, as part of Adolf Hitler’s strategic “Blitz” bombing campaign.
On Friday, Oct. 13, 1989, the U.S. stock exchange suffered a major crash. The day is sometimes referred to as “Black Friday.”
It is estimated that every Friday the 13th costs the U.S. economy approximately $800 million to $900 million in losses, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, as many people refuse to do business or travel by air.
British filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, was born on Aug. 13, 1899, which was a Friday. He was supposed to make his directorial debut with a film called “Number 13,” which never saw the light of the day owing to financial troubles.
The Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapels in Las Vegas, Nev., offers special zombie, vampire and horror-themed wedding ceremonies on Friday the 13th.
On Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered his officers to raid the homes of the Knights Templar, who were warrior monks during the Crusades. Hundreds of the Knights Templar were subjected to excruciating torture in order to force confessions from them. More than a hundred succumbed to death in the process.
For a month to have a Friday on the 13th day, it must begin on a Sunday.
Hotel and hospital buildings often skip the 13th floor, and airports sometimes don’t have a gate no. 13.
Former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt reportedly had a great fear of Friday the 13th. He avoided starting a trip on a Friday, wasn’t keen on traveling on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 people at the dinner table.
Pop star Taylor Swift believes 13 is her lucky number and has some connections with Friday the 13th. “I was born on the 13th. I turned 13 on Friday the 13th. My first album went gold in 13 weeks. My first #1 song had a 13-second intro,” she told MTV in 2009.
You get another dose of Friday the 13th later this year since it occurs twice in 2017 – in January and October.