Wondering why there’s all this fuss about Friday the 13th? Here are 12 things you need to know about the dreaded day — we didn’t give you 13 facts, because, well, 13 is an unlucky number guys!
1. But why?
No one really knows why or how Friday the 13th came to be such a feared day. There are loads of theories on the internet (of course), ranging from the bible (because the 13th disciple betrayed Jesus) to a 1907 American novel called Friday the 13th.
2. How many times a year do I have to deal with this?
There can only ever be a maximum of three Friday the 13ths in a year, but there will always be one Friday the 13th. This year there are two Friday the 13ths, the next one will be in December.
3. How do I know one is coming?
If the month starts on a Sunday, you’ll know that in just under 2 weeks, you’re going to have to deal with a Friday the 13th. So you can prepare your underground safety bunker, or tell your boss you won’t be coming in that day.
4. What do I call this inexplicable fear I’m feeling?
The fear of Friday the 13th is the combination of two kinds of fears: the fear of Fridays and the fear of the number 13 (triskaidekaphobia). Together, these two fears are called paraskevidekatriaphobia and here’s how to pronounce it.
5. Is it just me who feels slightly scared of Friday the 13th?
No, don’t worry, it’s estimated that around 8% of Americans are properly scared of Friday the 13th and a quarter of Britons consider Friday the 13th to be unlucky.
6. Have any terrible things happened on Friday the 13th?
Yes, plenty of awful things have happened on the day. Tupac died on a Friday the 13th. Even worse, it was also the day that a plane crash in the Andes killed 29 people — the survivors had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive…
7. So, should I stay in bed?
Well, a New York man called Daz Baxter decided that he would stay in bed all day to avoid any terrible incidents on Friday the 13th. Unfortunately, this backfired when his building collapsed on top of him!
8. Ok, but do I REALLY have anything to worry about?
No, no you don’t. Although there is a lot of hype around Friday the 13th, science has thankfully investigated the matter for us, and research shows that you are no more likely to suffer an unfortunate accident, visit the hospital or be involved in a natural disaster on Friday the 13th than you are on any other day of the year.
9. Except if you own a business, then it really could be an unlucky day…
Because we’re a superstitious bunch, people tend to avoid things like flying on Friday the 13th, leaving the house, going to the shops, booking appointments — the list goes on. Although this doesn’t necessarily keep us safe (remember Daz Baxter…) it does mean that businesses tend to suffer a bit on Friday the 13th. In fact, American businesses lose between $800 million and $900 million every time there’s a Friday the 13th.
10. Also, if you believe Friday the 13th is unlucky, it may actually become unlucky
In a tragic self-fulfilling prophecy, people who work in injury-prone industries and believe that the day is unlucky may be more likely to experience accidents. Which makes them dread the day more. Which makes them even more likely to have an accident. Bottom line: if you’re superstitious and you work in construction, then you may want to stay at home on Friday the 13th — but we can’t promise a building won’t fall on your head.
11. Has anything good ever happened on Friday the 13th?
Um, yes! We think any day that’s a Friday is a good day because it signals the start of the weekend! Steve Buscemi and the Olsen twins were also born on Friday the 13th, so there’s also that…
12. How can I make Friday the 13th work for me?
Because people tend to stay at home on the day, if you want to avoid crowds, Friday the 13th may be the perfect day to hit the shops. And, even better, because loads of people choose not to fly on the ‘unlucky’ day, flights tend to be cheaper, so you may be able to bag a bargain!