JACKSON. Wyo. — Today, Jan. 13 is the first “Friday the 13th” of the 2023 year. In western cultures, the day is seen as unlucky based on the number 13 and it landing on a Friday.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia are two terms that describe fear of Friday the 13th while the fear of the number 13 is known as triskaidekaphobia.

The day is riddled with superstitions and bad luck that has manifested in pop culture, with the unluckiness of the day first popularized through the 1907 novel, “Friday, the Thirteenth” by Thomas William Lawson. The novel chronicles a stockbroker who plays up the superstition to create chaos on Wall Street and in turn, make a lot of money for himself. Then came likely the best-known example, with the horror film, “Friday the 13th”, released in 1980.

Superstitions related to the number 13 being unlucky might date back to a Norse myth in which the 12 gods had a dinner party in Valhalla. According to historian Donald Dossey, Loki, a god who was not invited, arrived at the 13th guest and arranged for one of the gods to shoot the other with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. “The whole Earth mourned, it was a bad unlucky day,” according to Dossey.

Another moment in which the number and day are seen to be unlucky goes back to biblical times. Thirteen guests attended the Last Supper, beginning the Christian superstition that having 13 guests at a table was a bad omen, courting death. Friday also got a negative connotation because Jesus was crucified on a Friday and Friday was also said to be the day Eve gave Adam the apple.

In recent times, a few major events have occurred on a Friday the 13th.

  • German bombing of Buckingham Palace, Sept. 13, 1940
  • A cyclone killed an estimated 300,000 people in Bangladesh, Nov. 13, 1970
  • Death of rapper Tupac Shakur, Sept. 13, 1996
  • Crash of Costa Concordia Cruise ship off of Itlay killing 30 people, Jan. 13, 2012
  • Former President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in response to COVID-19, March 13, 2020.

2023 only has two Fridays the 13th, the next is Oct. 13.

Information shared in this post was sourced from History.com.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.