Why Friday the 13th Is Unlucky. Or is it?

Friday the 13th is unlucky. We all know that.  How else can you explain the very well known fact that the accordion was given its patent on a Friday the 13th.

But why exactly do we think it’s unlucky?  I figured it had to be religion because generally speaking religions loves to scare people.  After feeding the hungry, extolling the virtues of love and compassion, and having bake sales, scaring the bejesus out of people is religion’s favourite thing.

Sure enough, Friday the 13th harkens back to the Last Supper of all things.  A nice sit down dinner with friends.  There were 13 people at that dinner and one of them turned out to be Judas, who you may know as the dude who betrayed Jesus.  So if they’d kept the number for that dinner at 12 …

In fact, that’s what Jesus was doing in that very famous painting of the same title.  He had just told all of his apostles that one of them would betray him.  What you’re seeing in the painting is their various reactions.  At least what you’re seeing is Leonardo Da Vinci’s interpretation of how they reacted.


Jesus was crucified the next day. A Friday.  I mean this is all kind of word of mouth and its validity sort of depends on who you ask, but it is indeed the generally agreed upon basis for why Friday the 13th was originally thought to be unlucky.

Just so you know, if you’re in Spain you have nothing to worry about.  It’s Tuesday the 13th that’s unlucky there.  Unlike in Italy where Friday is the unlucky day but only if it’s Friday the 17th.

At this point in my Friday the 13th. research, I’m getting a little bit suspicious about the validity of the whole thing.

For one thing, the Olsen twins were born on a Friday the 13th and I LOVE the Olsen twins.

Also the Hollywood sign went up on a Friday the 13th.  It actually said Hollywoodland and it was put up as a real estate sign for a new development, but became an iconic and instantly recognizable landmark. So … that seems pretty lucky.

Then there’s the whole Friday the 13th movie franchise which I’m sure made lots of money and gave lots of jobs to lots of people. Again – good and lucky stuff.

On Friday the 13th Benjamin Franklin wrote one of the world’s most famous phrases. That  “… in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes”.  If I may, I’d like to expand on that phrase and add cabbage moths.

So as you venture out today, if you’re worried about getting into a fender bender, forgetting your wallet at  home or any other bad thing that might happen, remember this; Friday the 13th is always followed by the most fun loving of all the days, a Saturday.

Have a good weekend!


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  1. Dan says:

    Whatever works. I enjoy your garden posts and pass a few on to gardening friends.

  2. Dan says:

    Get and spray BT (bacillus thuringiensis) for cabbage moths. There are several trade names for it. BT only works on the larva stage of a narrow group of insects, including the tomato horn worm.

  3. Byron says:

    Let me see if I can figure this out… I found this site on Friday the 13th, but joined on the 14th, both of the 7th month. So 13+14+7=34=2×17. Rearranging those final digits gives 721. In 1979 (a 7, 2 nines, and a 1, and we all remember “casting out nines” right?), the year I turned 17, 2 years before Reagan was elected, American television was flooded with ads for the Firestone 721 Tire, and speaking of getting tired, uh, what was the topic again?

  4. Jo Hill says:

    Yea! TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY! I’m just waiting for the black cat to cross in front of me and that will make my day.

  5. Heather says:

    This reminds me of my mum’s response to my terror at breaking a mirror. She said, “A broken mirror is good luck! Instead of getting one view you get many.” She was an optimist. I loved her for it.

  6. Alena says:

    Phew, I am safe.
    I am flying to Spain on Tuesday the 12th and landing on Wednesday the 13th (in September). But that was a close escape!

  7. Leeuna says:

    I don’t pay much attention to superstitions and old wives tales. Now…watch me have bad luck all day long. hehehe

  8. Kate says:

    I was born on a Friday the 13th so I consider it a lucky day for me . :)

  9. SuzanneLH says:

    My grandmother was the daughter of shunned Amish. For whatever reason, she loved Friday the 13th. She said it was a good luck day. I’m going with her thoughts on this one. It’s always been lucky for me.

  10. Tarra says:

    Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

  11. Kirsten says:

    Well I’m off to a wedding today and the bride I’m sure will have researched this and thought it to be a good day to marry. I personally have no problem with the date as I was born on a friday the 13th.

  12. Doug DeMille says:

    I have to disagree on your research, Karen. Well, maybe not disagree, but I have another take on it, at least. If you remember the Passover, not the meal, but the actual event that is remembered by it, the last of the 10 plagues of Moses, was the death of each family’s firstborn, unless of course, you had the blood of an innocent lamb painted over your door. That was a very unlucky day for the Egyptians, and has been researched by Bible scholars and found that day was Friday the 13th.
    By literal interpretation, not tradition, Jesus couldn’t have been crucified on a Friday because He said He would spend 3 day and nights in the belly of the earth. Now, I’m not a math whiz, but Friday night and Saturday night only make 2 nights, since He appeared on Sunday morning. That would mean that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday. Enough confusion for the day? And yes, we do agree, religions do like to scare people. One or two even scare me.

    • Karen says:

      Well, like the majority of what is found in the bibles there are a zillion different interpretations. And pretty much no proof on whether any of it is accurate. ;) ~ karen

    • Leeuna says:

      If there was a “like button” on the blog I would “like” your comment.

  13. Karen D says:

    My lucky day! I got married on a Friday the 13th – the venue was available on Friday or Saturday, but Friday was half-price!

  14. danni says:

    I had to have surgery, deliberately chose Friday the 13th assuming no one else in their right mind would, and I would have the undivided attention of surgeon and staff. And l would have BUT… a few unlucky people had their appendix burst and my surgeon was the on-call emergency doctor. I got sidelined for most of the day but surgery went fine.
    When I had to go back for follow-up surgery I chose Friday the 13th again. And I’m still here to tell the story so… :D

  15. Shawna says:

    But it’s a LUCKY day for pagans…a day representing change linked to the Norse goddess Freya and the 13 lunar cycles of the year (feminine energy!) Not only that, but today we have Friday the 13th on a NEW moon… also representing change and new beginnings!!! Rare, indeed.

  16. Susan Claire says:

    My mother was able to hold on for just a little longer, so I was born safely on Saturday the 14th. Dodged that bullet.

  17. Sylvia says:

    My younger brother was born on a Friday the 13th, so in my family, it’s a lucky day.

  18. Sachi says:

    I froze at “forgetting your wallet at home..” . Phew! I have it. :)

    • Tina says:

      Lol, I got in my car today and went to the grocery store. Then spent 10 minutes looking all over for my purse…which was in my hand. *sigh*

  19. Sharon Whiteley says:

    ” in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes”. ….but death only comes once :)

  20. Bernice says:

    In Germany Friday the 13 th is considered a lucky day.

    • Aleesha Kim Mayer says:

      That is not true at all Bernice :-) It might be that in some regions people believe so – still, I have never heard of it. Being a halfbreed and having spent most of my life in Germany PLUS all the evidence I gathered over the years I can assure you that probably you can have the best bad luck on Friday 13 in Germany ;-)

  21. Paula says:

    How long did it take you to research all of these little tidbits of info? :)

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