Brave the Date: Fun Facts about Friday the 13th
You’re happy it’s finally Friday, till you look at the calendar and see the date – 13!!! The most dreaded combination of day and date is here and we’ve collected a few interesting facts about it. So read on, and you might not get so nervous if a black cat happens to cross your path today.
It’s unclear why it’s considered unlucky
Some people believe it’s a bad date because Jesus was crucified on a Friday and there were 13 guests at the Last Supper. Friday is considered an unlucky day as Eve had tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on that day. 12 is believed to be a perfect number (12 months in a year, two 12-hour cycles in a day, etc.) so the number following it seemed lacking and hence considered bad.
There’s a term for it
Paraskevidekatriaphobia – the fear of Friday the 13th, is a serious condition and not just a feeling of uneasiness about the day. People who suffer from it actually have symptoms like rapid heartbeat, nausea, acute anxiety, sweating and a feeling of panic. In the US alone, about 17-21 million people suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, and some even stay in bed or at home the entire day.
Bad for the economy
Whether people have the fear of the date or not, a lot of people avoid certain big steps on this day. For instance, purchasing a new car, travelling, house, buying stock or even getting married. It is estimated that about $800 million is lost (in business) on that day.
The date might not have any real evidence for being ‘unlucky’, but here are some unfortunate events that occurred on Friday the 13th:
- In 2012, the Costa Concordia, a cruise ship partially sank on Friday 13. It caused the death of over 30 people.
- In 1989, on this date the stock market crashed.
- The Andes flight disaster happened on Friday the 13th where the chartered flight carrying 45 people crashed, leaving some dead, some to die later and the rest with no heat, food and means to survive.
- In 1940, the Nazis dropped a bomb on the Buckingham Palace on September 13 which was a Friday.
- IN 1989, a deadly computer virus deleted files and programmes from computers across the UK on Friday the 13th.
- In 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur was shot on Friday 13th, September and he died shortly afterwards.
- IN 2010, a 13-year-old boy was struck by lightning at 13:13 on Friday the 13th.
- Even in the future this date looks bad – on April 13, 2029 (which falls on a Friday), a large asteroid will fly very close to Earth. So close that it can be viewed without a telescope from some parts of the world.
The date was great for television. The Friday the 13th enterprise comprises of 12 horror movies, a TV series and several books that centre around curses and superstitions.
The number 13
Because of the fear of the number 13, many major hotels and hospitals do not have a 13th floor. Some even skip the room number 13.
Just like how company’s use Halloween to market their products and services, Friday the 13th presents a huge marketing opportunity. For example, stores can have 13% off or have a ‘lucky’ draw.
Have you had any unfortunate experiences on Friday the 13th? Share the story by leaving a comment below.