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Friday the 13th occurs when the thirteenth day of a month falls on Friday, which superstition holds to be a day of good or bad luck. In the Gregorian calendar, this day occurs at least once, but at most three times a year. Any month's 13th day will fall on a Friday if the month starts on a Sunday. In 2009 this applies to the months of February, March, and November. The next year to have three Friday the 13th dates will be 2012.


The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, a word derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή) (meaning Friday), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς) (meaning thirteen), attached to phobía (φοβία) (meaning fear). The term triskaidekaphobia derives from the Greek words "tris", meaning 'three', "kai", meaning 'and', and "deka", meaning 'ten'. the whole word means three and ten. The word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953.


According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a "Friday the 13th" superstition before the 19th century. The earliest known documented reference in English occurs in an 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini:
[Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; and 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.

However, some folklore is passed on through oral traditions. In addition, "determining the origins of superstitions is an inexact science, at best. In fact, it's mostly guesswork." Consequently, several theories have been proposed about the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition.

One theory states that it is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day.

  • In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve hours of the clock, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, twelve gods of Olympus, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
  • Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales, and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s. It has also been suggested that Friday has been considered an unlucky day because, according to Christian scripture and tradition, Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

On the other hand, another theory by author Charles Panati, one of the leading authorities on the subject of "Origins" maintains that the superstition can be traced back to ancient myth:
The actual origin of the superstition, though, appears also to be a tale in Norse mythology. Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil - a gathering of thirteen - and plotted ill turns of fate for the coming week. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as "Witches' Sabbath."

Another theory about the origin of the superstition traces the event to the arrest of the legendary Knights Templar. According to one expert:
The Knights Templar were a monastic military order founded in Jerusalem in 1118 C.E., whose mission was to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, the Knights Templar became extraordinarily powerful and wealthy. Threatened by that power and eager to acquire their wealth, King Philip secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France on Friday, October 13, 1307 - Friday the 13th.

The connection between the superstition and the Knights Templar was popularized in the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code. However, some experts think that it is relatively recent and is a modern-day invention. For example, the superstition is rarely found before the 20th century, when it became extremely common. One author, noting that references are all but nonexistent before 1907 but frequently seen thereafter, has argued that its popularity derives from the publication that year of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, in which an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.

A further theory goes back to a combination of Paganism, Christianity, and the Battle of Hastingsmarker. For many, the number 13 was considered a lucky number (such as 13 lunar cycles each year), but with the efforts of Christianity attempting to degrade all things Pagan, they promoted 13 as an unlucky number, with Friday thus also being considered a bad day of the week. However, on Friday the 13th of October 1066, the decision was made by King Harold II to go to battle on Saturday the 14th of October, rather than allow his troops a day of rest (despite his army having made a long and arduous march from a battle near York just 3 weeks earlier).

This decision in going to battle before the English troops were rested (the English lost and King Harold was killed), further established Friday the 13th as an unlucky day.

In some other countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th is considered bad luck. For example, the Fall of Constantinople, when the city fell to the Ottomans (a fact which marked the end of the Byzantine Empire), happened Tuesday, May 29, 1453, and is why Greeks consider Tuesday to be an unlucky day.

Social impact

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolinamarker, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United Statesmarker are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. "It's been estimated that [[[United States dollar|US]]]$800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day". Despite this, representatives for both Delta and Continental Airlines say that their airlines don't suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.

Rate of accidents

There are conflicting studies about the risk of accidents on Friday 13th. The Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) on June 12, 2008, stated that "fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home. Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday 13th, at least in The Netherlandsmarker; in the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500. However, a 1993 study in the British Medical Journal that compared the ratio of traffic accidents between Friday 6th and Friday 13th stated that there is a significant increase in traffic-related accidents on Fridays the 13th.. There are indications that there are more accidents on Fridays than average weekdays (irrespective of the date) probably because of alcohol consumption. Therefore it is less relevant for this purpose to compare Friday 13th with, say, Tuesday 13th.


The following months have a Friday the 13th:
Month Years Dominical
January 2006, 2012, 2017, 2023 A, AG
February 2004, 2009, 2015, 2026 D, DC
March 2009, 2015, 2020, 2026 D, ED
April 2001, 2007, 2012, 2018 G, AG
May 2005, 2011, 2016, 2022 B, CB
June 2003, 2008, 2014, 2025 E, FE
July 2001, 2007, 2012, 2018 G, AG
August 2004, 2010, 2021, 2027 C, DC
September 2002, 2013, 2019, 2024 F, GF
October 2006, 2017, 2023, 2028 A, BA
November 2009, 2015, 2020, 2026 D, ED
December 2002, 2013, 2019, 2024 F, GF

The following years have Fridays the 13th in these months:

Year Months Dominical
2001 April, July G
2002 September, December F
2003 June E
2004 February, August DC
2005 May B
2006 January, October A
2007 April, July G
2008 June FE
2009 February, March, November D
2010 August C
2011 May B
2012 January, April, July AG
2013 September, December F
2014 June E
2015 February, March, November D
2016 May CB
2017 January, October A
2018 April, July G
2019 September, December F
2020 March, November ED
2021 August C
2022 May B
2023 January, October A
2024 September, December GF
2025 June E
2026 February, March, November D
2027 August C
2028 October BA
2029 April, July G

This sequence, here given for 2001–2029, repeats every 28 years from 1901 to 2099. The months with a Friday the 13th are determined by the Dominical letter (G, F, GF, etc.) of the year. Every month that begins on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th, and there is at least one Friday the 13th in every calendar year.

The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is fourteen months, either from July to September the following common year (e.g. in 2001/2002 and 2012/13), or from August to October the following leap year (e.g. in 2027/28).

Patterns for non-leap years:

First month occurring Second month Third month
January October
February March November
April July
September December

Patterns for leap years:
First month occurring Second month Third month
January April July
February August
March November
September December

Each Gregorian 400-year cycle contains 146,097 days (365 * 400 = 146,000 normal days plus 97 leap days), 146,097 / 7 = 20,871 weeks, and 400 * 12 = 4,800 months. Thus, each cycle contains the same pattern of days of the week (and thus the same pattern of Fridays the 13th), but no day of the month up to the 28th can occur the same number of times on each day of the week (because 4,800 is not divisible by 7). The 13th day of the month is slightly more likely to be a Friday than any other day of the week. On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 (212 and 241/688) days.

The distribution of the 13th day over the 4,800 months is as follows:

Day of the week Number of occurrences
Sunday 687
Monday 685
Tuesday 685
Wednesday 687
Thursday 684
Friday 688
Saturday 684

Planned events on Fridays the 13th

Some events are intentionally scheduled for Friday the 13th for dramatic effect. They include:

  • Resident Evil 5 was released in the US and UK on Friday March 13, 2009.
  • SAW - The Ridemarker at Thorpe Parkmarker, UKmarker was opened on March 13, 2009. Coincidentally the ride was marred by 'teething problems' for the first few days after it was opened
  • Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album was released in the UK on Friday, February 13, 1970.
  • The Opening ceremony of Athens Olympic Games took place on Friday, August 13, 2004.
  • The 13th book in A Series of Unfortunate Events was released on Friday, October 13, 2006 by Lemony Snicket, also known as novelist Daniel Handler.
  • Four of the twelve films in the Friday the 13th series, including the most recent (reboot of a second film), were released on a Friday the 13th. The sequel to the reboot is planned to be released Friday August 13, 2010.
  • Joss Whedon's show Dollhouse aired its pilot on February 13, 2009.
  • Every Friday the 13th thousands of bikers ride to the small town of Port Dover Ontario, Canada.
  • Boston Lee Day is celebrated every Friday the 13th. Participants gather to enjoy the Boston Lee Drink for which this day is named.
  • The popular Browser-based RPG Dragonfable has an undead war every Friday the 13th, with a common drop being the hockey mask all of the monsters wear.
  • The 2009 film "2012" was released on Friday November 13, 2009.

Natural events on Friday the 13th

Due to the large number of events that happen in the world, a similar list could be compiled for any combination of day of the month and day of the week. Events that have been notable for being linked to the concept of Friday the 13th include:


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