Fun and Freaky Facts About Friday the 13th

July 13th, 2012By Category: Culture

We all have good and bad days. But there’s just one particular date all over the world that most people relate to misfortune: Friday the 13th. No matter where you’re from, you’ve probably heard or read some stuff about misfortunes that happened on this date for the past centuries. It’s not really a big issue whether you believe in this or not. We all have different beliefs anyway. But to feed your curiosity, here are some interesting, fun and even freaky facts about the number 13 and Friday the 13th.

1) This year has three Friday the 13ths and they fall on January 13, April 13 and July 13. The freaky thing? The dates fall exactly 13 weeks apart. The next year in which we’ll have three Friday the 13ths is 2015 and this hasn’t happened since 1984. They’ll fall in February, March and November 2015.

2) Any month’s 13th day will fall on a Friday IF the month starts on Sunday.

3) Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13 and both Napoleon Bonaparte and President Herbert Hoover were infamously stricken with it. In Norse mythology, the gods ultimately endured violent deaths, including Loki the trickster.

4) Five of the 12 movies in the Friday the 13th franchise have been released on Friday the 13th, including the remake in 2009.

5) Many high rise buildings have no 13th floor. Also, some hospitals have no room 13 and some airline terminals omit Gate 13.

6) There is no car in Formula 1 racing with the number 13. This number has been removed after two drivers were killed in crashes both driving cars numbered 13.

7) In 1970, the Apollo 13 was the 13th mission launched from pad #39 (13×3). The mission was aborted after an explosion occurred in the fuel cell of the service module. The rocket left the launching pad at 13:13 CST and the date was April 13th.

8) In Greece and in Spanish-speaking countries, Tuesday the 13th is considered bad luck, not Friday the 13th.

9) “A Baker’s Dozen.” According to stories, a witch in New York used to demand 13 items whenever she visited a particular bakery. One day, when the baker could not afford an extra item, the witch supposedly cursed the baker and he had bad luck ever since. It wasn’t until he brought the witch another 13 rolls that things changed and he apparently broke the curse. Believe it or not, the custom is still sometimes practiced today.

10) The Tarot Card number 13 is the Death Card, which depicts the Grim Reaper. Though the picture is often seen by most people as equivalent to death, things are not as bad as they seem. the card is read as transition or change, and not literally death.

11) Killers Charles Manson, Saddam Hussein, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Theodore Bundy and Jack the Ripper each have 13 letters in their names.

12) The deadliest associations with the number 13 are the facts that there 13 stairs leading to the gallows, the blade in a guillotine fell from a height of 13 feet and a hangman has 13 knots in a hangman’s noose.

13) The number 13 is considered unlucky for many people in the West. This is not the case among many Chinese. It goes by the same reasoning. The digit 1 when it is in the position of tens sounds like the word ‘definite’ (shi or 实) in Mandarin and dialects such as Cantonese; while the digit 3 sounds like life, living or birth (生). As a result, 13, which is pronounced as shisan in Mandarin, can mean ‘definitely vibrant’.

Why does Friday the 13th beliefs/superstitions stick so firmly in our minds? According to Thomas Gilovich from the department of psychology at Cornell University, our brains are almost too good at making associations. He said,

“If anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind, and all those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored.”

Again, we all have bad days and bad luck. It happens. What’s important is that we shouldn’t let a tiny bit of bad luck pull our spirits down. There’s always a bright side to look at. Besides who knows? Misfortunes could be blessings in disguise.

Photos by: Cammera=laggingVintage Movie Postersjoanne_huang_1983, Ark in TimeMark Alvarado and ericabiz via Flickr Creative Commons

Author of this article


GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

Related articles that may interest you


  • Yumi Zabre says:

    It is interesting that in Japan, the same thing applies for numbers 4 and 9, because of their pronunciation. 4 is SHI, which is also how you read the death kanji 死, and 9 can be read as KU 苦, which is also how you read the kanji for ‘suffering’ Therefore, it is said that in Japan, it is bad luck to give things in fours and nines….
    And yes, in Spanish speaking countries, there is a saying: “martes trece: ni te cases, ni te embarques ni de tu casa te apartes” (Tuesday 13th, don’t get married, don’t go on a trip and don’t stay away from your home)
    Interesting how every culture has its own unlucky or luck numbers, great article!