Friday the 13th: Is that a bad thing? A good thing? Doesn’t matter?

The scientist says that in exceeding 12 by 1, the 13's association with bad luck has to do with being beyond completeness. (WDIV)

Yep, it’s Friday the 13th. Is that a bad thing for you? Doesn’t matter? A good thing? I fall into the “doesn’t matter” category.

I guess this scientist is dubious about all superstitions. I’ve walked under many ladders, with no adverse repercussions. I’ve also broken a small mirror, and I don’t think anything bad happened to me. As for Friday the 13th? Same thing…I don’t remember having any bad luck just because it was the 13th day of the month and, coincidentally, it fell on a Friday.

If Friday the 13th has you scared or nervous, then you have a condition known as friggatriskaidekaphobia. “Frigga” is the name of the Norse god that Friday is named after, and “triskaidekaphobia” is fear of the number 13. That’s how you get friggatriskaidekaphobia. And it is reported that between five and ten percent of Americans have this phobia!

But why is Friday the 13th considered so unlucky? Let’s start with the number 13. According to FearOf.net, it’s been thought of as a “bad” number for two reasons. The first is pretty simple: people seem to remember the bad things throughout history that have been associated with 13 (there were 13 people at Jesus’ Last Supper and the 13th member betrayed him, 13 steps walking up to the gallows when you were about to be executed in Britain, etc.). The other reason is that 13 is the number that follows 12, which is historically been considered a “good” number (12 signs of the Zodiac, the 12 Tribes of Israel, etc.). So, the number 13, I suppose, is just plain bad.

As for Friday, that has also been deemed a very bad or unlucky day throughout history. For example, Jesus was crucified on a Friday, the Great Flood occurred on a Friday, and Friday was the day many executions took place in Britain (thanks again to FearOf.net).

So, when a Friday occurs on the 13th day of the month, that’s supposed to be bad. Really, really bad. And I just don’t buy it. If you adhere to the standard stock broker disclaimer that “past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance,” then you know how I feel.

If you are a friggatriskaidekaphobiac, it is not my intention to add to your misery, but I feel it needs to be said that today’s Friday the 13th is occurring exactly 13 weeks after our most recent Friday the 13th. Or, do the two bad lucks cancel each other out? In any event, now you know. Have a lucky day!


About the Author:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.