Why is Friday the 13th unlucky? Meaning of superstitious day explained

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A popular theory behind why Friday the 13th is thought to coincide with the fall of the Knights Templar, a group of legendary warriors

Every year, Friday the 13th shows up on our calendars at least once — and for some, the date means nothing but bad news.

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For many around the world, Friday the 13th is considered a very unlucky day.

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While the date can appear up to three times in a single year, 2022 only has one Friday 13th, F, which is good for those who are afraid of the number 13.

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But where does the superstition around this date come from? You need to know.

Why is Friday the 13th considered unlucky?

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There are a number of theories as to why Friday the 13th is considered such an unlucky date.

One of the most popular in terms of superstition connects the date of Friday the 13th with the fall of the Knights Templar.

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Hundreds of Knights Templar were arrested by King Philip IV of France on Friday October 13, 1307.

In 1314, Jacques de Molay (ca. 1244 – 1314), the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake for heresy. He yells at Pope Clement and King Philip that within a year they will be “put before a judgment with God.” They both soon died (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

story states: “Established around 1118 as a monastic military order dedicated to the protection of pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land after the Christian conquest of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, the Knights Templar quickly became one of the wealthiest and most influential groups of the Middle Ages, thanks to lavish Donations from the crowned heads of Europe, eager to ingratiate themselves with the wild knights.

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“By the turn of the 14th century the Templars had erected a system of castles, churches and banks throughout western Europe. And it was this amazing wealth that would lead to her downfall.”

In order to take over money, land and power from the Knights Templar, King Philip IV of France ordered their arrest.

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The Knights Templar were brutally tortured, kept in isolation, and fed only scraps of food and water.

What are some other theories?

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Another popular theory about the Friday the 13th calamity is attributed to the story of Jesus’ last supper and his crucifixion. Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper shows 13 people in the Upper Room on Maundy Thursday, the 13th of Nisan, the night before Jesus died on Good Friday.

Judas, who betrayed Jesus, is also said to have been the 13th guest sitting at the table.

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Visitors view “The Last Supper” (Il Cenacolo or L’Ultima Cena), the late 15th century mural by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci ( MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Furthermore, the connotations of Friday the 13th being unlucky could be traced back to a novel by Thomas W. Lawson entitled Friday, the Thirteenth, published in 1907.

The story tells the story of a banker who uses superstitions around Friday the 13th to create a panic on Wall Street on that very day.

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In the 1869 biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who died on Friday November 13, by Henry Sutherland, it is documented that the composer considered Friday an unlucky day and the 13th an unlucky number.

What is triskaidekaphobia?

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Triskaidekaphobia is the irrational fear of the number 13.

Triskaidekaphobia.info explains: “Most people with triskaidekaphobia have an immersive and persistent phobia/fear of the number 13.

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“The premise of the phobia or fear of the number 13 is usually difficult to explain, but in some cases its causes are linked to panic-related experiences or genetic conditions.

The 13th Club Luncheon Meeting in London. The 13 members of the famous 13th Club held a dinner or luncheon on the 13th of each month, their particular joy is when Friday falls on the 13th (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“Fear of the number 13 can be treated by a psychologist with exposure therapy in combination with medication.”

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The word has Greek origins where tris means three, kai means and, deka means 10 and phobia means fear.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia refers to the specific fear of Friday the 13th, not just the number 13.

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Do we see triskaidekaphobia in everyday life?

Although you may not have thought about it before, the superstition regarding the number 13 can be seen in different parts of society.

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Major airlines such as Air France, Lufthansa and Ryanair do not have a 13th row at their seats, and many hotels also do not have a room number 13 or a 13th floor.

Do you think Friday the 13th is an unlucky day? (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Lufthansa explains: “In some cultures, the number 13 is considered an unlucky number.

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“That’s why there’s no row 13 on planes, because we respect superstitions.

“That way no one has to sit in this row who thinks the number 13 is unlucky.”

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Also, some cruise ships do not have a deck or floor number 13, and many restaurants do not have a table number 13 either.

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