Very Superstitious: What IS Friday the 13th?

It was a day that signified bad luck even before a certain masked, machete-wielding man hit Camp Crystal Lake.

Friday the 13th is a day where superstitions are kept and every bit of bad luck is scrutinized. But where did it come from?

One legend says the superstition around Friday the 13th can be linked to the Last Supper. From Wikipedia:

The superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, “originating from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion” in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday.[3][4] While there is evidence of both Friday[5] and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.

The idea of Friday the 13th being bad luck exists primarily in Western culture. In Greece and in Spanish-speaking countries, Tuesday the 13th is considered a day of bad luck. In Greece, from Wikipedia:

The Greeks also consider Tuesday (and especially the 13th) an unlucky day.[14] Tuesday is considered dominated by the influence of Ares, the god of war (Mars in Roman mythology). The fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade occurred on Tuesday, April 13, 1204, and the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans happened on Tuesday, 29 May 1453, events that strengthen the superstition about Tuesday. In addition, in Greek the name of the day is Triti (Τρίτη) meaning the third (day of the week), adding weight to the superstition, since bad luck is said to “come in threes”.

Meanwhile, Italians view Friday the 17th as a day of bad luck. From Wikipedia:

In Italian popular culture, Friday the 17th (and not the 13th) is considered a day of bad luck.[15] The origin of this belief could be traced in the writing of number 17, in Roman numerals: XVII. By shuffling the digits of the number one can easily get the word VIXI (“I have lived”, implying death in the present), an omen of bad luck.[16] In fact, in Italy, 13 is generally considered a lucky number.[17] However, due to Americanization, young people consider Friday the 13th unlucky as well.[18]

The 2000 parody film Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth was released in Italy with the title Shriek – Hai impegni per venerdì 17? (“Shriek – Do You Have Something to Do on Friday the 17th?“).

The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute of Ashville, N.C. estimates that 17-21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of the date, which is known as paraskevidekatriaphobia.

This year — and next year — there will be two Friday the 13th dates. The previous Friday the 13th for this year came in April. The dates in 2019 will be in September and December. There is at least one Friday the 13th every year and there can be as many as three in a single year. This occurs when a year starts on a Thursday or a leap year begins on a Sunday.

Keep your lucky rabbit feet and four-leaf clovers handy and try to make it a great Friday, no matter the number behind it!