If you looked at your calendar, you may have noticed a bit of an anomaly today — it's Friday the 13th. If you're the superstitious type, you might be happy to find out that this is the only time Friday the 13th will strike in the year 2016 — by comparison, we had to deal with Friday the 13th three different times, last year. When is the next Friday the 13th, you may be wondering? The next one will be Jan. 13, 2017, and the one after that is Oct. 13, 2017. So, you definitely have some time to take a deep breath.
When I hear someone say Friday the 13th, I immediately think of bad luck, black cats, avoiding ladders, and of course the 1980 Paramount Pictures classic film with Freddy Krueger. If you stop and take a minute to think about it, though, why is Friday the 13th unlucky? It's a cultural superstition mainly in the United States. Is Friday the 13th a real thing in every country around the world? Nope. For Italians, the unluckiest day is said to be Friday the 17th. In Spain, Tuesday the 13th is the source of superstitious omens. If either of those sound ridiculous to you, slow your roll and examine your own possibly unfounded beliefs.
After all, the origins of this so-called unlucky day are seriously murky. Some people think that this holiday is rooted in Christian beliefs. In the Bible, the 13th attendee at the Last Supper is Judas, who betrayed Jesus. Jesus may also have been crucified on a Friday. Friday the 13th is also thought to be the day when Cain killed his brother Abel. None of that makes Friday the 13th sound like a very lucky day. Perhaps one of the most widespread beliefs behind its origins, popularized by Dan Brown in The DaVinci Code, stems from Friday, October 13, 1307, when hundreds of Knights Templar were captured and tortured across France.
None of this proves anything, of course. There is no scientific reason why Friday the 13th is any more dangerous than any other day. In fact, a German study published in the World Journal of Surgery looked at whether there were more emergency room visits on those unlucky Fridays. Nope, no evidence of that. Dutch researchers found that you are actually less likely to get hurt on Friday the 13th. Still, that doesn't stop many Americans from trying to ward off bad luck on this supposedly unlucky day, and here are seven facts to know about this creepy holiday.
1. It's a bad day for business
An estimated $800 to $900 million dollars in business is lost on Friday the 13th because people will not fly or do business as they usually would, according to Donald Dossey, author of Holiday Folklore, Phobias and Fun: Mythical Origins, Scientific Treatments and Superstitious 'Cures.
2. Americans are more superstitious than they used to be
According to a Gallup poll, 25 percent of Americans admit to being superstitious about Friday the 13th. That's up from 18 percent in 1990.
3. Younger people tend to be more superstitious than older people
In the same Gallup poll, people under the age of 30 were more likely than people over the age of 65 to be superstitious about black cats, walking under a ladder, and breaking a mirror.
4. Fear of Friday the 13th is an actual phobia
It's been suggested that if you can learn to pronounce the scientific name for a fear of Friday the 13th, Paraskevidekatriaphobia, you will be cured of your fears. Can't pronounce it? NPR will help you out.
5. It's surprisingly common
The 13th day of the month is more likely to land on a Friday than on any other day of the week.
6. It's a historic day in more ways than one
Columbus may have actually landed in the Western Hemisphere on October 13, 1492.
7. It's considered bad luck to stay on the 13th floor of a hotel
Around 13 percent of Americans are freaked out by staying on the 13th floor of a hotel, which explains why many hotels skip from floor 12 to 14.
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