Today’s Yiddish word of the week has been pre-empted. Happy Friday the 13th, bitchez!
1. It is unclear why it is feared. Some say the day is associated with a French king who gave the orders in 1307 to whack the Knights Templar on Friday 13th while others believe that Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday the 13th.
2. And yet the myth of bad luck persists. So much so that some suffer mental illness because of the fear of Friday the 13th. Friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia. Friggatriskaidekaphobia comes from Frigg, the Norse goddess of wisdom after whom Friday is named, and the Greek words triskaideka, meaning 13, and phobia, meaning fear. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is also derived from Greek: paraskeví translates as Friday, and dekatria is another way of saying 13.
3. The fear of Friday the 13th is contagious. And affects millions of people. The profit margins of airlines are especially affected because of the widespread belief that the number 13 is unlucky.
4. Friday the 13th usually happens in threes. All years will have at least a single instance of the day but there can’t be more than three in any given year. The longest the calendar goes without seeing a Friday the 13th is 14 months.
5. Sunday is to blame for Friday the 13th. For a month to have a Friday the 13th, the month must begin on a Sunday.
6. Friday the 13th patterns repeat. Whenever a common year begins on a Thursday, the months of February, March and November will have a Friday the 13th. This will happen 11 times in the 21st Century. The Feb-Mar-Nov pattern repeats in a 28 year cycle. The cycle began in 2009. This won’t happen for 11 more years until 2026 and then we’ll wait another 11 years until 2037 to see another Feb-Mar-Nov Friday the 13th trifecta.
7. Leap years are not exempt. If January 1 of a leap year falls on a Sunday, the months of Jan-Apr-Jul will each have a Friday the 13th. This happened in 1928, 1956 and 1984. This will happen another four times in 2012, 2068 and 2096 thereby perpetuating the 28-year-cycle again.
8. Alfred Hitchcock was born on Friday the 13th. Hitchcock is considered the master of suspense and was born August 13, 1899. He made his debut with a movie called Number 13 but the film was plagued with financial trouble.
9. It is unlucky but only for some. Friday the 13th is not universal. In Italy, Friday the 17th is considered unlucky and the number 13 is considered lucky.
10. Fear of Friday the 13th is a mental illness, at best. There is very little to zero evidence that Friday the 13th is unlucky. Studies have shown that the day has little or no effect whatsoever on accidents, hospital visits and natural disasters.
11. The day caused a windfall for a film series. The Friday the 13th franchise includes 12 horror movies, a TV series and several books that focus on curses and superstitions. Jason Voorhees and his hockey mask is one of the most recognized images in pop culture.
12. Safety & Accident Awareness. Finland dedicated Friday the 13th as National Accident Day in 1995 to raise awareness about safety–at home, in the workplace and on the road.
13. Asteroid on Friday the 13th. On April 13, 2029, an asteroid discovered in 2004 and named 99942 Apophis will safely fly by Earth.