Tap to Read ➤

Friday the 13th Superstitions

Abhijit Naik
Ranging from astonishing to downright bizarre, Friday the 13th superstitions leave some people cowering in fear and some laughing in gusto. Yet another interesting aspect of this day is its history, which tells you how and why this particular date has become a subject of fascination over the period.
Right from the fear that grips our mind when a black cat crosses our path, to the practice of uttering 'God Bless' when someone sneezes, superstitious beliefs have become an integral part of our lives. We just can't seem to carry on without following them religiously, even if it means sacrificing on some of the basic responsibilities of our life.
When we talk about superstitious beliefs, the beliefs associated with Friday the 13th, no doubt, deserve a special mention. In fact, this day has some of the most widely followed bad luck superstitions associated with it. Such is the fear associated with this date, that people just can't seem to stick to their daily routine on this day.
The data compiled by Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute (North Carolina) suggests that somewhere around 17 to 21 million Americans are affected by the fear associated with this day, i.e., the combination of Friday and 13. Even worse, the financial losses incurred on this day amount to a staggering US$800 million every year.
Taking into account the popularity of this allegedly inauspicious day among gullible masses, we decided to compile a list of the most prominent superstitions associated with this day, which are followed in various parts of the world.

Friday the 13th History

As we flipped through the pages of history, we realized that Friday the 13th bears the brunt of bad luck associated with number 13, allegedly the unluckiest number, and Friday, allegedly the unluckiest day of the week. Number 13 has always been considered unlucky, mainly as a result of being associated with various occurrences in mythology.
While some associate it with the instance of Norse mythology, wherein the god of joy and gladness, Balter, was killed in a deceitful manner by Loki―the god of discord and mischief, who was the 13th guest, others associate it with the Last Supper, wherein the 13th guest was Judas, who betrayed Jesus to his enemies for 30 pieces of silver.
Similarly, Friday has also been scorned for bringing bad luck to people, with incidents like the crucifixion of Jesus being carried out on this unfaithful day. There also exist some citations in the history which suggest that Cain killed Abel on this very day of the week.
The fear of Friday the 13th is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia and paraskevidekatriaphobia, with the former being derived by combining the words frigga, meaning Friday, and triskaidekaphobia, meaning the phobia of number 13.
Over the period, the belief that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day has just become one of the most widely accepted superstitions in the world and engulfed the entire society in a state of paralysis attributed to unknown fear.

Some Interesting Friday the 13th Superstitions

The list of superstitions continued to grow as time elapsed, with some people adding new superstitions to the list and others following them blindly. The fact that these superstitions cost us in millions every year shows how deep-rooted they are in the society.
That being said, given below is a list of such superstitions, some of which may take you by surprise. If you were born on Friday the 13th, your entire life will be marked by bad luck. 
  • If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, it will result in a death in the family.
  • If you change your bed on this day, you will see bad dreams throughout the night. 
  • If you were to pass a funeral procession on Friday the 13th, you will die the very next day.
  • If you were to leave the calendar on Friday the 13th, you will be killed by a witch the very next day.
  • Cutting your nails on Friday the 13th is again a bad omen which can bring you some serious bad luck.
  • This is a very bad day for new beginning, and thus starting a new business on this day will only call for a disaster.
  • Similarly, starting out on a trip on Friday is considered to bring misfortune.
  • According to a deep-rooted superstition, Friday the 13th is a very bad day to consult an astrologer.
  • The voyage of a ship that sets sail on Friday 13th is much more likely to end in a disaster. 
An 'accident' is a broad concept that includes everything, ranging from a safety pin pricking your finger to a car accident, and this plays a crucial role when it comes to any superstitious belief―Friday the 13th is no exception.
Basically, the slightest bad thing that happens to you on this day is bound to stay in your mind forever, even if it is just about forgetting your wallet at home or reaching late to office, which must have happened on several occasions. As a non-believer, you might find all this funny, but that's how things work on this allegedly inauspicious day.
The morbid fear of Friday the 13th can be attributed to the concept of 'selective bias' in psychology, wherein one only takes into consideration the data which supports his statement, while ignoring the facts that don't support his statement―or contradict it.
Many people, for instance, cite the earthquake that occurred in Turkey on March 13, 1992 (which was a Friday) whilst highlighting 'how unlucky this date is', but ignore the fact that there have been earthquakes―a lot more disastrous than this particular quake―which neither occurred on Friday, nor on 13th of the month.
Skeptics, in an attempt to eliminate these superstitions from the society, have been intentionally scheduling the important events of their lives on this day. That though, has done very little good to this date which is more popular as the unluckiest day of the year.
At the end of the day, these are just superstitions which are engraved on your mind, and only critical thinking can get rid of these and other such superstitions from our mind and the society. Getting rid of this irrational fear is the need of the hour considering that it is taking a toll on our productivity.
PS: That it can occur at least once, and at the most thrice, in a single year as per the Gregorian calendar, is one of the most interesting, but lesser known facts about Friday the 13th.