Friday the 13th

Friday 13th what does it mean to you? Nothing at all, an excuse to stay in bed all day, or a film featuring a chap called Jason with a severe attitude problem?

If you happened to be going to Alton Towers, a UK pleasure park on Friday 13th last August 2010, the date was significant as the management closed their ride ‘Thi3teen’ thinking it was in the best interest of their visitors. Not so this Friday 13th however, as the ride is open this time, but at a whopping discount…umm…so why?


So, what is so important about this date that lead to the closure of a £15million rollercoaster? Unlike many superstitions the notion that Friday 13th is unlucky could be quite recent as there is no written evidence that it was considered unlucky before the 19th Century; although since many traditions are orally passed on, this may be misleading.

Friday an unlucky day?

One theory states that our caution concerning this date is a modern amalgamation of two older superstitions: that thirteen is an unlucky number and that Friday is an unlucky day – thus Friday the 13th presents us with a ‘double whammy’ of bad luck.

Witches Sabbath

In contrast it has also been mooted that the origin of this tradition is Norse. Friday is named after Frigga, the Norse goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished and declared a witch. It was believed that every Friday the spurned goddess met with eleven witches, plus the devil (a gathering of thirteen) to cause mischief for the following week: thus in Scandinavia, Friday was known as “Witches’ Sabbath.”

Knights Templar

Another theory about the origin of the superstition revolves around the Knights Templar – a monastic military order founded in Jerusalem whose mission was to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. The Knights Templar became powerful and wealthy which eventually drew the jealous attentions of King Phillip. The King ordered the arrest of all the Knights Templar in France on Friday, October 13th 1307.Obviously for these knights, Friday 13th really was unlucky.


Still, if you happen to be friggatriskaidekaphobic (scared of the date Friday 13th) I may have some words of comfort for you. Dutch statisticians have claimed fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays. Equally, they found that statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday the 13th.

Driving safely

In the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500 traffic accidents. Perhaps Friday 13th is not such a bad time to travel after all, well at least in Holland or else there were a large slice of people who didn’t go out that day!

If you want to know exactly how the planets have aligned for you on Friday 13th, please read your Daily Zodiac sign forecast.

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Post Author: Patrick Arundell

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