Friday the 13th
December 13, 2002 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Are you Paraskevidekatriaphobic? If you think Friday the 13th is unlucky, then you are. But you might not be wrong. Hospital admissions due to road accidents increase by up to 52% on Friday the 13th. And of course the fear is so universal, it even spawned a series of movies.
posted by Mwongozi (23 comments total)
posted by thirteen at 8:41 AM on December 13, 2002

I always thought is was Triskaidekaphobia . . .

Hospital admissions due to road accidents increase by up to 52% on Friday the 13th.

From the linked article:

it's unwise to take solace in a single scientific study (the only one of its kind, so far as I know), especially one so peculiar. I suspect it has more to teach us about human psychology than it does about any particular date on the calendar.
posted by mikrophon at 9:50 AM on December 13, 2002

If anyone's interested, according to our resident Greek, the Greeks consider Tuesday 13th to be the unlucky day - something about Istanbul falling I think...

Where does Friday 13th come from? Anyone?
posted by twine42 at 9:56 AM on December 13, 2002

Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number thirteen anywhere, not just Friday the 13th, right?

Anyway, my eldest son was born on Friday the 13th, so it's apparently not too terrible, unless you consider that the boy is practically my clone, in which case all bets are off.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:02 AM on December 13, 2002

twine42, These theories are as good as any, I suppose.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:04 AM on December 13, 2002

Interestingly, 13 is considered a lucky number in Judaism (for example, it's the year of one's ascent into adulthood- the bar/bat-mitzvah).

I was surprised to find that the office building my company recently moved into has a 13th Floor, which is fairly rare.
posted by mkultra at 10:18 AM on December 13, 2002

In grade four I found a four-leaf clover on Friday the 13th. I have since been immune to the cursed day's misfortune emanations. This is my sorry excuse for a super power.
posted by picea at 10:18 AM on December 13, 2002

Luck, like other delusions, is in the mind of the beholder.
posted by rushmc at 10:23 AM on December 13, 2002

Is Friday the 13th any less common than any other day landing on the 13th? They don't seem to happen very often, but statistically it seems like the 13th would be just as frequent as any other day of the week.
posted by jragon at 10:31 AM on December 13, 2002

hey, I was born on a Friday the 13th. No major unluckyness to report within the last 32 years. I still haven't won the lottery though.
posted by hulette at 10:49 AM on December 13, 2002

Afaik, jragon, Friday the 13th is an unusual date because due to the structure of our calendar, it only occurrs once a year, whereas the other 13s occur twice.

Of course, I might be wrong. I'm too lazy to look at all 14 of the possible calendars.
posted by shepd at 11:09 AM on December 13, 2002

I was born on the thirteenth, as well as my brother, although not on Friday. In our family, thirteen is considered very lucky.
posted by stoneegg21 at 11:55 AM on December 13, 2002

shepd - you're wrong. Friday the 13th can occur twice or more in a year. Any month that begins on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th in it, and I know we already had one this year.

*checks calendar*

Yup. September.
posted by starvingartist at 11:56 AM on December 13, 2002

Friday the 13th can occur twice or more in a year.

Well, twice, anyway. Next year we'll have one in June. 2004 will see two, one in February and one in August. 2005 will have one in May. I didn't look beyond that.
posted by starvingartist at 11:59 AM on December 13, 2002

Last post, I swear. It seems that non-leap years with a Friday the 13th in February can have 3 unlucky days. One in February, one in March (consecutive bad luck! Ooh!), and one in November. The next time this will occur will be 2009. I'm done.
posted by starvingartist at 12:01 PM on December 13, 2002

In the Gregorian calendar's 400-year cycle, the 4800 thirteenths are distributed thusly:

687 Sunday
685 Monday
685 Tuesday
687 Wednesday
684 Thursday
688 Friday
684 Saturday

A single year can have as few as one (never zero) or as many as three Friday-the-thirteenths. The latter happens in non-leap years beginning on Thursday (February, March, and November), or in leap years beginning on Sunday (January, April, and July). Fortunately, we are not due for another such thrice-cursed year until 2009.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:05 PM on December 13, 2002

You people have way too much time on your hands.

DevilsAdvocate, I am looking in your general direction.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:20 PM on December 13, 2002

twine42, and others: 13 is considered to be an unlucky number for us Greeks, because Constantinople's fall took place in 1453 (May 29, to be precise). If you add 1+4+5+3, you'll get this lousy number.
posted by kchristidis at 1:43 PM on December 13, 2002

Numerology = comedy gold.
posted by rushmc at 2:42 PM on December 13, 2002

kchristidis Cheers for that. I'll read it in the morning when I'm sober. ;)

Forgive me for being a cynic, but distructing 13 because the number adds up seems a little strained. It'd be better if it was the 13th day of the 13th month (yes, I know, be quiet ;) ) or 1313. ;)
posted by twine42 at 3:48 PM on December 13, 2002

(To be quite honest, it sounded a bit strange to me too, the first time I heard about it.)
posted by kchristidis at 4:45 PM on December 13, 2002

It's just a prime number that comes after basically our neatest and most divisible number. It's too high to be a major factor of other numbers, like 3, 5 & 7, but it's not high enough to be truly beyond normal counting, which is where you are by the time you hit 17, generally speaking. That's my take anyway.

Friday's the only day named for a female deity - that's all I can come up with on that.
posted by mdn at 5:59 PM on December 14, 2002

Yes, MCD, taking the five minutes to work up the Excel spreadsheet for that clearly indicates I have too much time on my hands.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:58 AM on December 16, 2002

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