Friday the 13th

If a Friday falls on the thirteenth day of a month, it is called ‘Friday the 13th’ or a ‘Black Friday’. Some people consider this date unlucky.

No one knows for sure why so many people believe Friday the 13th is unlucky, but there are a lot of theories.

Here are some of them :

  • Friday was a traditional day that people were hanged, and there may have been 13 steps leading to the gallows.
  • There were 13 people at the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. Judas, one of the people at the supper, betrayed Jesus and this led to Jesus’s crucifixion. Some people believe that Jesus was also crucified on a Friday.
  • Another theory is that Friday is the day Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden.
  • The number 12 is seen as a special number in many religions and myths, so the number 13 is seen as unlucky, or ‘wrong.’
  • The Canterbury Tales (written in the 14th century) by Geoffrey Chaucer mention that Friday is an unlucky day.
  • Various books that have bad events happening on Friday the 13th are sometimes cited as the origin of the superstition.
  • On Friday 13 October 1307, lots of members of the Knights Templar group were arrested in France.

There are special words that can be used for fear of the number thirteen ‘triskaidekaphobia’ and of Friday the 13th ‘paraskevidekatriaphobia’.

Find out more

Take the Friday the 13th quiz at CBBC
A list of all the Fridays the 13th coming up
There is some more information on the Friday the 13th Wikipedia page

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