Dear Kids and All Readers,
Did you know that Friday, May 13, 2022, was the only Friday the 13th this year?
Years that have 365 days and begin on a Saturday will have only one Friday the 13th. 2022 meets those criteria. Our next Friday the 13th won’t happen until January 2023.
What’s the big deal about Friday the 13th for some people and cultures, anyway?
According to history.com, “Friday the 13th has long been a harbinger of bad luck.” The psychological names that describe fear of this unlucky day are “triskaidekaphobia” and “friggatriskaidekaphobia”!
Such fear is one of many superstitions. In some Western cultures, the number 12 has historically been associated with completeness (like twelve months in the year; the twelve labors of Hercules; the twelve tribes of Israel; etc.), so number 13 is odd and, therefore, imbued with negative associations.
And why Friday? According to Biblical tradition, Jesus Christ’s crucifixion was on a Friday. The Last Supper was held the day before. There were thirteen people (Jesus plus the twelve apostles) around the table. (Since then, thirteen people around a table has been considered bad luck.) Also, Friday was said to be the day when Eve gave Adam the forbidden fruit.
In the late nineteenth century, a New Yorker named Captain William Fowler, trying to erase the stigma of Friday the 13th, founded The Thirteen Club. Its members dined on a thirteen-course dinner on the thirteenth day of each month in Room 13 of the Knickerbocker Cottage. U.S. presidents Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, and Teddy Roosevelt joined the club at one time or another.
Friday the 13th appears in pop culture: The novel Friday the Thirteenth by Thomas W. Lawson was published in 1907. The horror movie Friday the 13th was released in 1980.
History.com reports some traumatic events that occurred on Friday the 13th: The German bombing of Buckingham Palace (September 1940); a cyclone that killed over 300,000 people in Bangladesh (November 1970); the disappearance of a Chilean Air Force plane in the Andes (October 1972); the death of rapper Tupac Shakur (September 1996); and, the crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy, which killed thirty people (January 2012).
So, get a clue, Readers. Are you superstitious? Do you fear Friday the 13th? Watch out when walking under ladders, and don’t let a black cat cross your path!