photo credit: Pap Krast Creations
For us is just a normal happy day,
but for many people, Friday the 13th is a holiday that carries ominous overtones and is considered unlucky in Western culture. It’s a day which occurs at least once every year and may occur up to 3 times in a calendar year. However, while some people consider the day to be unlucky or even evil, statistical analysis has shown that fewer accidents happen on this day than on any other day. Which is probably due to more people staying home and being extra careful on this day.
History of Friday the 13th
Unfortunately, the history of this day is somewhat obscured by time, so it really isn’t known why it has come to be known as an unlucky day. Throughout much of modern human history, Friday has been considered unlucky and the number 13 has been unlucky, but the combination of the two wasn’t considered especially unlucky together until about the late 19th century or early 20th century.
Since ancient times, Friday has always been a day of bad luck. On Fridays, sailors avoided starting new journeys, seamstresses would avoid needlework on this day and businessmen would avoid writing letters on this day. The superstition that this day was unlucky was so prevalent that farmers would avoid starting their crops on a Friday. However, not every Friday was considered equal. Good Friday was a day that was seen as a day that brought good luck – especially if you were a sailor who just so happened to have made their maiden voyage on Good Friday.
Likewise, the number 13 has been unlucky since ancient times as well. However, it really isn’t known when that superstition began. Some people think that it goes back to the last supper of Jesus Christ. Counting Jesus and his 12 disciples, there were 13 people at the table. This is considered unlucky because the 13th guest, Judas Iscariot would betray Christ and died by his own hand. This led to the belief that if 13 people sat down to a meal together, one of them would die by the end of the year. The “unluckiness” of the number 13 became extremely popular during the 19th century. During this time, people would avoid having anything to do with this number. So much so, the number was often skipped when numbering hotel rooms and the 13th floor of buildings were often mislabeled as the 14th floor.
The Horror Movie Franchise
Friday the 13th isn’t just an unlucky day but it is also an American horror franchise. Beginning with the first movie in 1980, this franchise has gone on to make 12 slasher films which has since spawned numerous comic books, novels, video games and merchandise. All told, the horror movie franchise has grossed over $464 million dollars worldwide.
The Television Series
Running from October 3, 1987, to May 26, 1990, Friday the 13th was also a television series. It featured Ryan Dallion (played by John D. LeMay) and Micki Foster (played by Louise Robey) as two cousins trying to recover cursed antiques and return them to the vault of Curious Goods—an antique store owned by Jack Marshak (played by Chris Wiggins). These cursed antiques included everything from a doll that killed on behalf of its owner, to a gold compact mirror that made men fall in love with the owner to a cameo pendant that allows the possessor to resurrect a person of their choice if they kill someone else. The series ran for a total of 72 episodes.
Celebrating Friday the 13th
While many people avoid doing any activities on this day, and some people just stay home completely, choose to go about their day like it was any other day. Other people celebrate the day by throwing parties that use many of the same design elements and themes that Halloween uses. Some charities even use the day to throw events to raise money for their cause. Of course, if you’re a person with either triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13), paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday) or friggatriskaidekaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th), then you’re probably not doing anything on this day.
Some people also choose to spend the day watching the Friday the 13th movies or even the television series. And it’s becoming an increasingly more popular trend for people to throw watch parties of these two franchises with their families and friends.
Whether you choose to say home from work on this day, decide to avoid all black cats and instances of the number 13 or throw one big party, you can still rest assured that Friday the 13th is still one of the safest days on the calendar. It is also a holiday that is steeped in history and superstition – which is probably why it’s one of the more fascinating days on the calendar today.