0 Today I Learned...13 Fun Facts About Friday the 13th

Definition: the fear of Friday the 13th
Etymology: from Frigga (Norse goddess associated with Friday) + triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13)
Friday the 13th, calendar, friggatriskaidekaphobia
Photo credit: ABC News
Hopefully you avoided black cats and walking under ladders today. And you can relax until May 2011; today will be the only instance of a Friday the 13th in 2010.

Here are 13 bits of trivia that you may not know about this "unlucky" day...

1. Every year has at least one Friday the 13th, but no more than 3. The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is fourteen months.

2. According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a Friday the 13th superstition before the 19th century.

3. One theory says the origin stems from Friday, October 13, 1307, when most of the Knights Templar were simultaneously arrested by the order of King Philip IV with the blessing of Pope Clement V.

4. Another explanation cites the Crucifixion of Jesus, which was said to have occurred on a Friday, with Judas as the thirteenth guest at the Last Supper.

5. Traditionally in numerology, 12 is considered the number of completeness: the 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 hours of the clock, the 12 Apostles, the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12 days of Christmas, etc. The number 13 is considered a transgression, or going beyond completeness.

6. Approximately 17-21 million Americans suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia.

7. It is estimated that every Friday the 13th, $800-900 million is lost in business due to canceled appointments and absenteeism.

8. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover also suffered from triskaidekaphobia.

9. Many buildings do not have a 13th floor, airport gates skip from 12 to 14, hotels do not have rooms numbered 13, and many athletes refuse to wear a 13 on their jerseys.

10. Four of the twelve films in the Friday the 13th movie series were released on a Friday the 13th.

11. In a deck of Tarot cards, 13 is the death card and depicts the Grim Reaper.

12. It is said that if you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the Devil's luck—just like Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo.

13. Despite all of the superstitions, studies have shown no reliable relationship between Friday the 13th and rates of car accidents or other serious damages. 

[Sources: Wikipedia, ABC News]

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