friday the 13th: No 13th floor, no airline row. A look at all things superstitious around Friday the 13th

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Today is Friday the 13th. Is it one of the unluckiest days on the calendar? The day which is considered to be an unfortunate day according to Western superstition occurs when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday.

The day occurs once or sometimes even thrice a month. While 2015 had three Friday the 13ths in February, March and November 2017 had two such days. Similarly, 2021 and 2022 have a single occurrence of the day. While there are several references that show the historical significance of the day, there are also myths surrounding Friday the 13th in different cultures.

Numerous books and films have been written and released about the unusual day. The misfortune surrounding the number has led many builders to skip number 13 floor, hotels to skip room no. 13, and even disuade people from undertaking new initiatives. There are several superstition surrounding the day.

Here’s a look at some of the pop culture references surrounding the day.

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The Last Supper

According to the Christian faith, 12 disciples attended The Last Supper a night before Jesus’s crucifixion. There were 13 people present in the Upper Room and one of them betrayed Jesus. Hence, the number 13 began to get associated with Judas Iscariot.

Norse Mythology

In Norse myth, it is believed that the 13th became an unlucky number after the god of mischief Loki appeared uninvited at a dinner party in Valhalla where 12 gods were having a good time. The same day Loki tricked another god Hoor to fire an arrow at another god Balder killing him. Balder’s death was mourned by the Earth and since then the day has been considered unlucky.

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‘Friday the 13th’

The first film in the series, ‘Friday the 13th’ is an independent slasher film released in 1980. The film follows a group of teenagers who are murdered by an unknown killer who lurks around wearing a hockey mask. The franchise has released 12 movies and the 13th movie has been under production for several years. The delay has led fans to speculate that the movie franchise has been cursed.

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‘The Canterbury Tales’

The 14th century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer has termed Fridays as unfortunate in his celebrated work ‘The Canterbury Tales. “And on a Friday fell all this mischance,” Chaucer wrote. In the 17th century, several writers began advising against taking up new projects on Fridays. It is believed that persecution by hanging used to take place on Fridays in the United Kingdom.

The Infamous Thirteen Club

The Thirteen Club secret society was founded at the College of William & Mary in around 1890. This club of eminent philanthropists was created to demonstrate that no one would die when 13 people sat together at a table. The members of the club included as many as five former US presidents.

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‘Friday the Thirteenth’ The 1907 Novel

The novel by US author Thomas W Lawson depicts a stockbroker who brings down Wall Street on Friday the 13th. Coincidently, a ship named Thomas W Lawson wrecked near UK on December 14 the same year. The mishap took place when it was still December 13 in the US.

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