Historically, Friday the 13th has been associated with bad luck in many parts of the world. The day even inspired the iconic movie series which horror fans adore. People suffering from Paraskevidekatriaphobia or Friggatriskaidekaphobia(phobia of Friday the 13th), find it hard to function on the day that comes at least once every year. However, a glance at history proves that the day had not always been an unlucky one.
Friday the 13th has seen a few milestones in the women's rights movement. On October 13, 1967, United States President Lyndon Baines Johnson ratified the executive order which stopped gender discrimination in the government. The law gave women equal employment opportunity in government offices. Evelyn Kilgare-Brier received her airplane instructor's licence on October 13, 1939, making her the first woman to receive the licence.
Friday the 13th has also been a significant date in the history of Hollywood. The iconic "Hollywood" sign was officially dedicated on July 13, 1923, making it a permanent landmark. Multiple people of the Hollywood fraternity were born on the supposed unlucky day. Director Alfred Hitchcock, who is known as the "Master of Suspense," was born on 13 August 1899. Comedian Steve Buscemi (13 December 1957), twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen (June 13, 1986), and actress Kat Dennings (June 13, 1986) were all born on a Friday the 13th.
Black Sabbath released their first album (Black Sabbath) on Friday, February 13, 1970. It is widely regarded as the first album of the heavy metal genre. The third installment of the Friday the 13th movie saga was released on August 13, 1982, which was a Friday. Prince Harry reached the South Pole for the Walking with the Wounded expedition on December 13, 2013 (Friday).
In the field of science, Friday the 13th has seen a few important finds. On November 13, 2009, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced the discovery of a significant amount of water on the moon. The first dinosaur egg was discovered on July 13, 1923.
According to The Telegraph, Dr. Caroline Watt of the University of Edinburgh pointed out that the superstition did put people at higher risk on the day. Those who believe in the superstition are likely to be anxious and distracted resulting in an increased risk of accidents.
The day has indeed seen a number of unlucky events in history. King Philip IV of France imprisoned and executed members of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307. Buckingham Palace was bombed on September 13, 1940. Bangladesh was hit by a devastating cyclone on November 13, 1970. Rapper Tupac Shakur succumbed to gunshot wounds on September 13, 1996. Terror group ISIS attacked Paris on November 13, 2015. All these days fell on a Friday.
In 2029 an asteroid is rumoured to come close to the earth on April 13, which is a Friday.
Friday the 13th is not an unlucky day around the world. In Italy, where the number 13 is considered lucky, Friday the 17th is considered unlucky. In Greece, Tuesday the 13th is feared instead of Friday. In China, the number four is feared as it sounds similar to the word for death.
The superstition has had an impact on air travel as fewer travellers choose to fly on the day. A Chilean flight crash in the Andes back on Friday, October 13, 1972, was unlucky for the passengers of the flight. However, the low airfares and offers by many airlines make it economical to fly on Friday the 13th. The day also ushers in the weekend, which is always a reason to look forward to Friday the 13th.