If it's Friday the 13th, You Must be in for Bad Luck

What do the years 2009, 2012, and 2015 have in common? How about three Friday the 13ths? As in the last time, this year and the next time.

Yep, today is our third of the year which happens to be 13 weeks after April 13, which was 13 weeks after January 13.

Oh boy. But, since this is July, the seventh (often a lucky number) month of the year, does that offset bad luck?

Doubtful. If you believe in good luck, the odds are you believe in back luck.

In a National Geographic story a few years back, Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, England, said people who think theyíre not lucky tend to believe in bad luck superstitions. The Friday the 13th phobia fazes something like 21 million people in the United States, costs business about a billion bucks and just plain amuses many of the rest of us.

Letís have some fun with Friday the 13th.

As one joke goes, Freddie asks, "Do you have any superstitions since itís Friday the 13th?" to which Frank answers, "I think itís unlucky to have superstitions."

Friday is bad luck because Adam and Eve supposedly ate the forbidden fruit on a Friday, the Great Flood occurred on a Friday (it peaked on Friday the 13th, 2008 in Cedar Rapids), communication broke down at the Tower of Babel and Ancient Romans set it as execution day according to tidbits.com. But for others itís TGIF ó Thank God Itís Friday ó because the weekend starts.

The number 13 superstitions go on and on, from a witchesí coven having 13 members to the 13th tarot card depicting death to walking 13 steps up the gallows for hanging. According to one source, the Apollo 13 space flight was fraught with 13 ó it took off at 13:13 central time on April 11, 1970, and a fuel cell exploded on April 13 (not a Friday). If you fear 13, youíve got triskadecaphobia.

Jesus is a common denominator ó dining with 13 people at the Last Supper and being crucified on a Friday. If you fear the combination, youíve got paraskavedekatriaphobia.

But, hey, in Cedar Rapids itís immunity day. This yearís invasion of RAGBRAI riders on July 26 has been dubbed "Surviviní the Ride," based on the long-running reality TV show "Survivor" where immunity means you get to stick around for more challenges. In Cedar Rapids, it means people are encouraged to wear RAGBRAI apparel. (See CedarRapidsRAGBRAI.com for more info.)

You fear it or have fun. According to a Time magazine article, a New York pastor tried to convince young people they had nothing to fear by offering to marry them on a Friday the 13th in 1913.

In Paris, it used to be that if 13 people showed up for dinner you could hire a quatorzieme, a professional 14th guest.

One story goes that Mark Twain once quipped, after being the 13th person at a dinner party, "It was bad luck. They only had food for 12."

So, ward off Friday the 13th bad luck by laughing in its face. After all, if the world ends in December as some folks say the Mayan Calendar predicts, we wonít ever have to worry about a Friday the 13th again.

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