Friday the 13th FactsJuly 13th, 2012,
by Richard .
As you all no doubt know today is Friday the 13th, a day full of superstition and in some cases fear. Here are some interesting facts that you may or may not have known about this day and some of the superstitions surrounding it.
This year is particularly a special one for Friday the 13ths as this is our third; Jan. 13, April 13 and July 13. The really strange thing? The dates fall exactly 13 weeks apart. That hasn’t happened since 1984.
If that seems a bit scary, you may have paraskavedekatriaphobia, the scientific terms for fear of Friday the 13th.
If you do think you have paraskavedekatriaphobia you are one of over 60 million people worldwide who share this fear. In extreme cases some of those people won’t go to work, drive cars or even get out of bed on this day.
Friday the 13th is most commonly avoided day for many activities including weddings, new business launches and travelling. Some ocean liners will not leave dock until after midnight on Friday the 13th to make fearful passengers feel more at ease.
Some of the more notable events from past Friday 13ths include:
- Rapper Tupac Shakur being pronounced dead Friday, 13 September, 1996.
- An earthquake in Turkey killed nearly 2,000 and left 50,000 homeless on Friday, 13 March, 1992.
- The Uruguayan rugby team’s plane crashed in the Andes mountain range on Friday, 13 October, 1972.
But the superstitions aren't only limited to this day, the number 13 is believed by many to be unlucky all year round.
Most hotels and skyscrapers worldwide do not have a thirteenth floor, opting for 12A with some even skipping the number altogether. While some hospitals and airline terminals avoid rooms and gates which are numbered 13.
In Formula 1 racing, there is no car with the number 13. The number has been removed after two drivers were killed in crashes, both driving cars numbered 13.
On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.
It was commonly believed that if 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
Even here in Ireland an Independent TD has urged the government to consider amending Ireland’s car registration plate system for next year – because some superstitious motorists do not want cars with ’13′ on the plates.
The deadliest associations with number 13 are the facts that there are 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.
But Friday the 13th isn't always unlucky for everyone.
A report issued by the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics on June 12, 2008, states "fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home." This in turn was reflected in the reports received by Dutch insurance companies, in the last three years, which showed that on normal Fridays, the number of traffic accidents touched a figure of approximately 7,800 but it decreased to 7,500 on a Friday, the 13th in The Netherlands.
This is certainly one of the times where the expression 13 lucky for some is applicable.
So keep your spirits high today and remember whether or not you believe in superstitions such as this it can't hurt to stay away from black cats, not walk under ladders and maybe bring your lucky charm around with you.