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Friday the 13th is an old, popular superstition believed to carry bad luck. Its effect on people is so great that traditions have been created from it. It even gave birth to the psychological terms paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia, which mean “fear of the number 13”.
See the fact file below for more information on the Friday the 13th or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Friday the 13th worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
ORIGIN – WHAT MADE FRIDAY THE 13TH BAD LUCK?
- The negative association with the number 13 is said to have originated from the Bible. At the Last Supper, when Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, there were 13 guests seated around the table. The 13th guest was Judas. People believe that this event started the superstition that having 13 people at one table brings bad luck.
- It is unclear as to how Friday became associated with the ‘unlucky’ number 13. However, it is still believed to be rooted in Christian tradition. Jesus died on a Friday, now called Good Friday. It is also believed that Eve gave the fateful fruit to Adam on a Friday and that Cain killed his brother, Abel, on a Friday. These events led people to believe that Friday is associated with the bad omen brought by the number 13.
- Some people, on the other hand, associate the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition with the Templars. The Knights Templar is a powerful religious and military order that was founded in the 12th century as a defense of the Holy Land.
- It was a Friday the 13th in 1307 when hundreds of members of the Knights Templar were arrested by the officers of King Philip IV of France. The arrested Knights were unjustly imprisoned and then executed on charges of different illegal behaviors because King Philip IV wanted to have access to their financial resources.
- As with many other legends about the Knights Templar, the truth regarding whether Friday the 13th started with them still remains unclear.
- To some people, the anxiety caused by the number 13 originated from numerology. Number 12, the number preceding 13, is considered by numerologists as a complete number. Thus, we have 12 Days of Christmas, 12 months, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 labors of Hercules, and much more. This makes the number 13 useless.
IN THE SOCIETY – WHAT THE SUPERSTITION HAS INSPIRED
- In the late 19th century, the Thirteen Club was founded. Its founder, Captain William Fowler, started this executive society with the aim of removing the stigma of the number 13. To do this, the members regularly had a 13-course dinner every 13th day of the month in room number 13 of Knickerbocker Cottage, which was owned by Fowler from 1863 to 1883.
- Another notable element in their regular meeting was the quote on the banner that members would pass by. The quote read “Morituri te Salutamus”, which is Latin for “Those of us who are about to die salute you”.
- Among the prestigious members of the Thirteen Club were former United States presidents Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt.
- In 1907, Thomas William Lawson’s novel, Friday, the Thirteenth, was published. This novel was highly inspired by the legend of Friday the 13th. It was about the story of a stockbroker in New York City who used the superstition to cause a mess on Wall Street and crash the market.
- In 1980, the horror movie “Friday the 13th” was released. The movie, with a hockey mask-wearing killer, led to creation of many sequels, comic books, novelas, video games, and related merchandise, including Halloween costumes.
- The greater fear of the number 13 has a psychological term, called “triskaidekaphobia”. This belief led to traditions that are still practiced by many today, such as not having a 13th floor in buildings and excluding the 13th table in a restaurant to avoid bad luck.
BAD THINGS THAT HAPPENED ON FRIDAY THE 13TH
- The German bombing of Buckingham Palace happened on Friday the 13th, in September, 1940.
- Kitty Genovese was murdered in Queens, New York, on Friday, the 13th of March, 1964.
- In November 1970, a cyclone hit Bangladesh, killing more than 30,000 people.
- The plane crash of a Uruguayan aircraft in the Andes was also recorded on Friday, the 13th of October, 1972.
- Rapper Tupac Shakur died Friday, the 13th of September, 1996.
- In January 2012, the Costa Concordia cruise ship crashed while off the coast of Italy and killed 30 people on Friday the 13th.
- In Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography, he also stated that the Italian composer, Gioachino Rossini, died on Friday the 13th. Edwards wrote, “He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.”
Friday the 13th Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Friday the 13th across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Friday the 13th worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Friday the 13th which is an old, popular superstition believed to carry bad luck. Its effect on people is so great that traditions have been created from it. It even gave birth to the psychological terms paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia, which mean “fear of the number 13”.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Friday the 13th Facts
- The Fear of 13
- Who Can Tell?
- 12 Ways
- Freaky Friday
- My Unlucky Day
- You’re Invited
- Paper Plate Black Cat
- Read Between the Lines
- Fun on Friday the 13th
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Link will appear as Friday the 13th Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 3, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.