Why is Friday the 13th unlucky? ~ English practice!

Friday the 13th ESL English study

In the West, some people believe that Friday the 13th is bad luck. They believe that this day has some special or magic power to cause bad things to happen.

This kind of belief is called a superstition in English.

superstition (noun) the belief that particular events happen in a way that cannot be explained by reason or science; the belief that particular events bring good or bad luck

“According to superstition, breaking a mirror brings bad luck.”


Superstitions about the number 13 and Friday may have started in the Middle Ages. (The middle ages refers to a time in European history between the 5th and 15th centuries) 13 was considered unlucky for a long time. The number 12 represents a complete cycle. 12 months in a year, 12 hours on a clock, 12 signs of the zodiac. 13 feels like 1 too many!

The story of Jesus’ death is said to have happened when he was surrounded by 13 of his followers. His death is also said to have happened on a Friday. There are also other stories about bad events that are said to have happened on a Friday, on the 13th day of the month. Some stories are religious and some are popular culture.

Both the number 13 and Friday were said to be unlucky, but it seems they weren’t combined into a single unlucky day (Friday the 13th) until the 19th century. Several authors helped to spread the idea that Friday the 13th is an especially unlucky day in stories and books written in the 19th century. There are many legends and ideas about why we think of Friday the 13th as unlucky.

Info from ~ Wikipedia Friday 13th

Friday and the number 13 are not unlucky for everyone. According to Mirror.co.uk singer Taylor Swift was born on 13th of December and turned 13 on Friday 13th. Her first album also went gold in just 13 weeks! Great!

Info from ~ mirror.co.uk

Friday the 13th is a popular horror movie series in North America. The original movie in this series is “Friday the 13th” (1980) and the latest is “Friday the 13th: Legacy” (2017). They have been making horror movies using Friday the 13th for more than 30 years! Do you know these movies? Are they popular where you live?
Unlucky means not lucky. The prefix un can change
 the meaning of a word to the opposite of the original meaning. Watch this video I made in March 2013 to explain the prefixes un and re
Different parts of the world have different religious stories, traditions and even their own unlucky days and numbers. Even different countries in Europe think another day of the week is “unlucky,” not Friday. How about your country? What is an unlucky day where you live? How about an unlucky number? Please teach me about your culture in the comment section below!

Comments 2

  1. Thank you, Dave, for your article! It is really very interesting and the grammar notes about word formation (prefixes) are very useful!

    1. Post

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