Whether you have the date circled on your calendar months in advance or only just realize it’s the ominous day once it has arrived, Friday the 13th is a day that has the ability to fill us with dread. But have you ever wondered where the superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th come from? Turns out, there’s not actually any real reason to fear this date. The exact origin of Friday the 13th is unknown, so being wary of this date proves to be as unfounded as believing in all those superstitions about black cats, mirrors, and ladders.
While 2017 started off with a Friday the 13th in January, the 13th falling on Friday in October seems more apropos considering the spookiest day of the year takes place at the end of this month. Yet, no matter what month it falls on, Friday the 13th is nothing to fear — no matter what Hollywood tells you.
Rather than Friday the 13th being a menacing date on its own, it appears that it comes from the fear of the number 13, called triskaidekaphobia, and Friday having its own bad juju. Combined, they make for a particularly bad day.
As folklore historian Donald Dossey told National Geographic back in 2011, he credits the fear of 13 to Norse mythology and the Bible. The Norse myth about 13 is that 12 gods were having a dinner party at Valhalla, but when the uninvited Loki arrived, he made the guest count 13. And as shown in the Thor movies, Loki isn’t known for being a good guy, and he caused the whole Earth to go dark by arranging for the god of joy and gladness to be shot by an arrow.
So, yes, you do kind of have Tom Hiddleston to blame for Friday the 13th.
As for 13 being a bad omen in the Bible, Judas is said to have been the 13th guest at the Last Supper — and he was the disciple that betrayed Jesus, which led to Jesus’ death.
The Bible is also responsible for the bad vibes about Fridays. In Christianity, Good Friday is the day that Jesus is said to have died on the cross. National Geographic also noted that some biblical scholars think Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden on a Friday and, more relevant to the date, that their son Cain killed his brother Abel on Friday the 13th.
Christopher French, a psychologist at Goldsmiths University, told Cosmopolitan UK that it wasn’t until the Victorian era that people combined Friday and the number 13 to create this most fearsome day.
Other myths and numerology theories are also cited to be the reasoning behind Friday the 13th, but no matter if you buy into the fear or not, people seem to be the real reason to blame for the date being a notoriously scary day.
There will be two Friday the 13ths in 2018 — in April and in July — so rather than be filled with dread when you look at the calendar next year, you should now be adequately prepared to fearlessly embark — and cuddle some black cats — on any Friday the 13ths from here on out.