“It’s Friday the 13th this week”, we tell our friends and colleagues in a spooky voice, without really knowing what that day-date combination fuss is really about.
Far from an old-school outdated fear, many are still terrified of the day, and the phobia of the number 13 is called “triskaidekaphobia”. The fear of Friday the 13th is called “paraskevidekatriaphobia”.
So why is it meant to be unlucky? In Western superstition, many believe that it all originated in the Middle Ages or has biblical roots.
Some think it could originate from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion, as 13 individuals were there on the night before his death on Good Friday – the 13th being Judas, who betrayed Jesus.
Historians also claim it could be the day in which Eve ate the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, or the great flood began.
Or alternatively, it could exist thanks to a catastrophic historical event – on Friday, October 13 1307, many of the Knights Templar were captured and tortured in France.
And back in the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned Friday being an unlucky day in the Canterbury Tales, writing: “And on a Friday fell all this mischance”.
There isn’t, however, nearly as much of a record of it being considered an ‘unlucky’ day as in the 19th century.
We may have transformed a minor superstition into the famous thing we know today all by ourselves; a book by businessman Thomas Lawson called Friday the Thirteenth came out in 1907 in which a stockbroker takes advantage of the superstition to create panic at Wall Street on that day – and we all know the Friday the 13th franchise featuring Jason rather well by now.
And though it’s easy to assume that it’s the only day people around the world consider unlucky, as nearby as Italy, it’s actually Friday the 17th that’s considered to be unlucky, and the number 13 is seen as quite a lucky number.
So while there are several plausible reasons, it remains a mystery. Chances are it has several origins, and that the more we big it up every time it occurs, the superstition only grows stronger.
Why do you think we’re afraid of Friday the 13th? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.