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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Is today a lucky or unlucky day?

Today is the first of the three Friday the 13ths this year. Many believe that 13, especially when combined with a Friday, means for a very unlucky day.  But did you ever wonder why?

Jaime McLeod, our web editor, did some undercover work and discovered that the reasons aren’t entirely clear. It seems that fear of the number 13 has been so prevalent throughout history that the Greeks even had a special word for it — “triskaidekaphobia.” Fear of Friday the 13th has an even longer name, paraskevidekatriaphobia, or sometimes friggatriskaidekaphobia.

To this day, many people believe it’s bad luck to sit at a table set for 13, a belief that may have gotten its start among the ancient Hindus. Here in the west, this idea was reinforced by the story of the Last Supper, when Jesus announced one of his 12 disciples would betray him. In many communities with numbered streets, 13th street gets skipped. Likewise, there is no 13th floor many high-rise buildings, and in many airplanes there’s no row 13. And in some towns, there are no houses with the number 13. The idea that Friday is an unlucky day of the week is less widespread. This superstition is more recent and likely stems from the tradition that says Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

It’s funny how superstitions like these are started and continued indefinitely. Think about the other superstitions that are supposed to bring you bad luck:

  • Breaking a mirror
  • Spilling salt
  • Walking under a ladder
  • Stepping on a crack in the sidewalk (especially for moms)

What others have you heard? And do you worry about Friday the 13th?

Personally I am kind of fond of Friday the 13ths as I was born on one. If you are a little concerned about your luck this Friday the 13, (or if you want to have a little fun with kids or co-workers) be sure to check out our tips on what to do to improve your luck this Friday the 13 (and the next one in April and then July).

Happy, lucky Friday the 13th to you.

2 comments

1 Virginia Seewer { 01.13.12 at 11:23 am }

I am not a superstitious person. I have a daughter who was born on Friday the 13th. She has been a very productive member of society. We have had much illness, deaths in the family but I don’t blame fate – just part of this life’s struggles. We persevere and endure and keep on going and focus on the good we can do rather than sink into depression because of a bad omen about this day.

2 The Farmers Market { 01.13.12 at 8:34 am }

In terms of Friday the 13th, my family has endured plenty of mayhem on this day in the past. Most of bad luck has been small financial blowouts that came out of left field. Thank God no accidents or deaths have occurred up to this point…I am not really fearful of the day as much as I am interested in the historical value of the day.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.