While you’re avoiding ladders and black cats today, you can brush up on some Friday the 13th fun facts:
- Friday the 13th is a relatively recent phenomenon: The earliest known documented reference is in an 1869 biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini: “If it be true that, like so many other Italians, he regarded Friday as an unlucky day, and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday, the 13th of November, he died.”
- In 1907, Thomas W. Lawson published a novel called Friday the Thirteenth about a stockbroker who orchestrates a financial panic on Wall Street by preying on people’s superstitions.
- Many consider Friday a bad day to begin a project or a journey. In Scandinavia, Friday was known as “Witches’ Sabbath.” Author Charles Panati writes that the Norse goddess of love and fertility, Frigga, was banished and called a witch when Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity. Every Friday, she met with eleven other witches and the devil (for a total of 13) to plan the next week’s misdeeds.
- In numerology, the number 12 symbolizes completeness, whereas 13 is an irregular number that ruins the completeness.
- Every month that begins on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th occurs at least once but no more than three times per year on the Gregorian calendar.
- The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia.
- Spanish-speaking cultures fear Martes Trece, Tuesday the 13th. In Greek culture, too, Tuesday the 13th is a day of bad luck.