Is Friday the 13th Truly Unlucky? Delving into Origins and Superstitions

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Friday the 13th has long been associated with fear and superstition, creating a sense of unease for many. The belief that this day brings bad luck is deeply rooted in history, particularly in its connection with Christianity and the ominous connotations of both Friday and the number 13.

The Ominous Date: Fear of Friday the 13th

The fear of Friday stems from the belief that Jesus was crucified on a Friday. This historical event has cast a shadow of misfortune over the day, as explained by Michael Bailey, a history professor at Iowa State University, specializing in the study of superstitions.

Historical Superstitions

During the Middle Ages, this apprehension toward Friday manifested in various customs. For example, people typically avoided scheduling weddings on Fridays, and embarking on journeys was considered ill-advised on this particular day.

These historical connections have contributed to the enduring fear and superstition surrounding Friday the 13th.

How Many Unfortunate Days Lie Ahead?

Fortunately, Friday the 13th is a relatively infrequent occurrence. In most years, like 2023, we experience two instances of Friday the 13th, although, on occasion, there is only one in a given month. However, there are especially ill-fated years, such as 2026, in which three of these superstitious days fall.

The Untimely Fear of Friday the 13th

You’re not alone if you experience fear on this day; it might be a case of triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13.

Historically, the number 13 has been associated with bad luck, rooted in the belief that Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th person to attend the Last Supper.

Interestingly, references to Friday the 13th only emerged in the 19th century, as noted by Bailey and Vyse, making it unclear when precisely the association between Friday and the number 13 began.

The Fear of Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Regarding the prevalence of the fear of Friday the 13th, if the number 13 itself doesn’t invoke fear, but it does when it falls on a Friday, you may be more susceptible to paraskevidekatriaphobia, which specifically pertains to the fear of Friday the 13th.

So, is Friday the 13th genuinely unlucky? While history and superstitions have certainly contributed to the fear associated with this date, the answer ultimately depends on one’s beliefs and perspective. Whether you choose to embrace the superstition or dismiss it as mere folklore, Friday the 13th continues to be a topic of curiosity and debate.


  1. Why is Friday the 13th considered unlucky?
  2. What are the historical origins of the fear of Friday the 13th?
  3. How many times does Friday the 13th occur in a year, and why is it considered rare?
  4. What is triskaidekaphobia, and how is it related to Friday the 13th?
  5. Is there any scientific basis for the fear of Friday the 13th?

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