Friday the 13th is known as being a day of bad luck, but where exactly did the day get such a bad reputation that inspires a horror film franchise and a phobia with a name like paraskevidekatriaphobia?
According to History.com, the origins of the superstition are unclear, but could have roots as far back as the Code of Hammurabi in ancient Babylon.
The Code didn’t have a 13th law in its list of legal rules, which some believe is proof that there was a superstition around the number 13 – however, History.com suggests the missing number was just a clerical mistake.
According to the history website, the association of 13 being unlucky likely started in Western culture the Last Supper in the Bible. In the biblical story, 13 people sat at the Last Supper table – Jesus and his 12 disciples – and the next day, Jesus was crucified.
History.com reported that because of that event, Christians may have held a longstanding superstition that having 13 people at a table was a bad omen.
According to the website, there is also some belief that, aside from Jesus being crucified on a Friday, other bad days in the Christian tradition supposedly happened on a Friday including the day Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge and the day Cain killed Abel.
Those events could be why Friday the 13th received such a bad reputation.
According to the website, the negative association with Friday and the 13th of the month became solidified in 1907 when Thomas William Lawson published the novel “Friday, the Thirteenth.” The book is about a “stockbroker who plays on superstitions about the date to create chaos on Wall Street and make a killing on the market,” History.com says on its website.
According to History.com, the origins of the superstition are unclear, but could have roots as far back as the Code of Hammurabi in ancient Babylon. (iStock)
The superstition was continued in the horror film franchise, “Friday the 13th,” which started in 1980 and has 12 films.
Though the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th makes great fiction, it also has real-life effects.
According to History.com, paraskevidekatriaphobia [the fear of Friday the 13th] is estimated to cause more than $800 million losses annually because people avoid doing major activities like going to work, for example.
About 10% of the population suffers from paraskevidekatriaphobia, the website reported.
This year, August is the only month with a Friday the 13th. The next one will be in May 2022.