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Friday the 13th
Friday the 13th occurs when the thirteenth day of a month falls on Friday, which superstition holds to be a day of good or bad luck.

In the Gregorian calendar, this day occurs at least once, but at most three times a year.

Any month’s 13th day will fall on a Friday if the month starts on a Sunday.

In 2009 this applies to the months of February, March, and November. The next instance of this appears on the calendar for the year 2015

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Superstitions are best defined as irrational beliefs: so they are, in a fundamental way, beyond argument. Yet people don’t accept them because they’re irrational. True believers can summon piles of anecdotes and think that they reveal a convincing pattern.

  • Public executioners once favored Fridays.
  • Most notably, Friday marks the day of the crucifixion.
  • If 13 people sat at a table, it was frequently said, one of them would die within a year.

Those of a more scientific bent might try to conjure empirical data. As it happens, a few researchers have studied Friday the 13th.  Dr. Simo Nayha, who examined traffic fatalities in his native Finland, determined that although men were only 2% more likely to die in an accident on Friday the 13th, women were 63% more likely.

In 1993, the British Medical Journal reported that “The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52% on Friday the 13th.”

People who want to find a higher meaning in this will do so.

“Superstition is the religion of feeble minds,” noted Edmund Burke.

Dr. Nayha, for his part, acknowledged that mere chance could not account for the fates of female motorists in Finland. He speculated that it’s not bad luck but rather bad nerves–caused by worrying about bad luck, and affecting the way certain people drive–that make the day so dangerous.

  • Dread of 13 eventually took other forms, and today it’s a rare building that has a 13th floor.

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