This year’s epic Friday the 13th trilogy is about to begin. We’ll have a Friday the 13th in a few hours. Again in March, exactly four weeks after February’s Friday the 13th. Then we’ll have a Friday the 13th in November – exactly 39 weeks (3 x 13 weeks) after February’s Friday the 13th. Scary coincidence or super unlucky?

Neither. The fact is that, according to folklorists, there’s no written evidence that Friday the 13th was considered unlucky before the 19th century. The earliest known documented reference in English appears to be in Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini. His portrait is on this page. He doesn’t look scary.

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Friday has always gotten a bad rap. In the Middle Ages, people would not marry – or set out on a journey – on a Friday.

There are also some links between Christianity and an ill association with either Fridays or the number 13. Jesus was said to be crucified on a Friday. Seating 13 people at a table was seen as bad luck because Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, is said to have been the 13th guest at the Last Supper. Meanwhile, our word for Friday comes from Frigga, an ancient Scandinavian fertility and love goddess. Christians called Frigga a witch and Friday the witches’ Sabbath.

In modern times, the slasher-movie franchise Friday the 13th has helped keep friggatriskaidekaphobia alive.

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According to Earthsky.org, blame Thursday. The year 2015 started on a Thursday. Whenever a common year of 365 days starts on a Thursday, it’s inevitable that the months of February, March and November will start on a Sunday. And any month starting on a Sunday always has a Friday the 13th.

Good luck on Friday. I have never been nervous about the superstitions of the day. However, when I see Black cats any day of the year, the hair on my arms do tingle.