Why is today the unluckiest day of the year?

Published: Friday 13th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Today is Friday the 13th. This is actually our second Friday the 13th this year, the last was back in January.

Unlucky for some, but why is this the case? No one is quite sure why we consider today to bring bad fortune.

It is thought that the origins of the superstition arose at some point during the Middle Ages. And yes, you’ve guessed it, it stems from a famous religious story. There were thirteen individuals at the Last Supper before Jesus’s death on Good Frida,y and so both Fridays and the number 13 became associated with misfortune.

However, it is thought that Friday the 13th wasn’t explicitly referred to until the nineteenth century in the biography of Gioachino Rossini.

Meanwhile, the 1907 publication of popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth by Thomas W. Lawson is thought to have brought further attention to the date, closely tying bad luck with it. The book described the panic on Wall Street when a broker took advantage of the superstition.

Other than the religious connection, there has been speculation that it derived from the date that Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar in 1307. This theory gained traction in 1955, with Maurice Druon’s historical novel, The Iron King, and more recently, Dan Brown’s 2003 book The Da Vinci Code.

So is it true that Friday the 13th brings bad luck? Some people believe so. Those who have a true fear of the date are known scientifically as paraskevidekatriaphobics.

A study by the British Medical Journal in 1993 claimed that there was a ‘significant level of traffic-related incidences’ on the day. However, they later revealed that this was a joke and that they had made the statistic up as part of their Christmas tradition.

In 2008, the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics said that fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft were reported on Friday the 13th, compared to other Fridays of the year. They suggested this was because people are more careful and generally just stay at home.

Funnily enough, we might be worrying about the wrong date entirely. In Greek and Hispanic culture, it is actually Tuesday 13th that is unlucky. This superstition exists because Tuesday is considered to be dominated by the Ancient Greek god of war, Ares. The proof was in the pudding with the fall of Constantinople on Tuesday 13 April 1204.

In Italy, it’s actually Friday the 17th that is associated with mishaps and misery. This thought dates back to Roman times: the number 17 in Roman numerals is XVII. It can easily get mixed up with the word VIXI – meaning ‘I have lived’ or death in the present.

We’ll have to wait until November for the next Friday 17th to occur, whilst the next Tuesday 13th is in February 2018.

What do you think? And what will you be doing today to ensure your safety?

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Published: Friday 13th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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