Spooky! So why is Friday 13th unlucky? 

July 5, 2018


This year, 13th July falls on an inauspicious Friday 13th which supposedly means we’re in for the unluckiest day of the year! With plenty of superstitions floating around, it’s only normal to be cautious of the date in the calendar. In fact, a fear of Friday the 13th is now so prevalent, it’s even earned an official name: paraskevidekatriaphobia. Let’s face it, if the date doesn’t scare you, the word will. But why is Friday 13th unlucky?

We decided to do a bit of research to understand why and where the whole concept comes from. (Remember: Three can protect your phone from any bad luck, but we’re not supernatural, so we can’t ward off any unlucky spirits for you…).

The history of Friday the 13th

For as long as most of us can remember, Friday 13th has been a day steeped in superstition, with people even choosing not to travel or leave the house on the date – just in case…

Finding out why is trickier than you might think, because there are a whole bunch of unconfirmed theories to wade through as to why Friday 13th is unlucky. According to a Catholic tradition, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ took place on Friday 13th, and so it’s associated with bad luck and pain. Other possibilities include Geoffrey Chaucer’s reference that it was bad luck to start a journey on a Friday (mentioned in his Canterbury Tales) and Thomas Lawson’s 1907 book Friday The Thirteenth. The latter dictates the tale of a fictional stockbroker using the unluckiest day of the year to crash the market; the New York Times soon jumped on the notion of Friday the 13th being an unlucky day.

One of the most popular theories surrounding why Friday 13th is unlucky comes from the events of Friday 13th October 1307, when there was allegedly a mass arrest and burning of Knights Templars. This story is likely the most popular because authors like Dan Brown have taken advantage of its mystery for their historical fiction.

The short answer is that nobody can be certain where the superstitions surrounding why Friday 13th is unlucky come from, but it sure is fun to think of theories!

Why is Friday the 13th unlucky?

The history of the day is unclear, so why do we all find Friday the 13th such an unlucky day? It’s probably related to the number 13 itself, which is unlucky to many. Psychologists have suggested that we learn superstitions from other people and that we continue believing in them because they’re another way of having control over strange or difficult situations – so maybe it’s just because we’ve been told to think of Friday the 13th as unlucky.

More recently, it’s possible people are spooked by Friday the 13th thanks to the Friday 13th movie franchise (now boasting an impressive 12 films in its catalogue). Plenty of people love to gather together and check out the vast collection of spooky films associated with Friday the 13th, and when you can binge-watch them on Netflix without using any of your data, why wouldn’t you? It’s time to reclaim your Friday 13th and have some fun instead of feeling the fear.

Very superstitious

Here at Three, we’ve discovered a whole bunch of strange superstitions. From ‘don’t cross someone on the stairs’ to ‘a broken mirror gives you 7 years’ bad luck’. Here are some more of our favourites:

  • “If you tread on the line, you’ll marry a swine, and a tortoise will come to your wedding!”
  • Always salute a single magpie, while saying “Hi Mr. Magpie, how’s your wife?”, if you don’t want bad luck.
  • Never put new purchases on the bed.
  • An even number of flowers in a bouquet signifies death.
  • Don’t put new shoes on the table.
  • If you’ve got hiccups, someone’s thinking about you. If your ears are burning, someone’s talking about you.

Now, whether you’re superstitious or not, it’s always worth making sure you’re safe and protected, whether from evil spirits or just unfortunate circumstances. We’re big believers in preventing potential disaster; that’s why we’ve got Three Insurance for our customers. Even if you tread on a crack, you don’t have to worry about your phone screen following suit…