When a Friday falls on the 13th day of the month some people believe that this day will bring bad luck. They believe that this day has some special or magic power to cause bad things to happen.
*We use the expression fall on to mean a specific date will happen or occur on a certain day of the week.
This year my birthday (specific date) falls on a Saturday (Day of the week). Let’s have a big party!
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.”
Where does this superstition come from?
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.
Much or Many? Easy English grammar w/Video
Other possible answers
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
Is Friday the 13th always unlucky?
Friday and the number 13 are not unlucky for everyone. According to Mirror.co.uk singer, Taylor Swift was born on the 13th of December and turned 13 on Friday the 13th. Her first album also went gold in just 13 weeks! Great!
Info from ~ mirror.co.uk
Transitive and Intransitive verbs with PDF download
Friday the 13th – Movies
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 as of this post is “Friday the 13th: Legacy” (2017). *I’m sure more are coming! 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?
The prefix UN-
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!
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2 thoughts on “Why is Friday the 13th unlucky? (English practice)”
Thank you, Dave, for your article! It is really very interesting and the grammar notes about word formation (prefixes) are very useful!
You’re very welcome! I’m happy to hear that my blog posts are helpful. Thanks for your comment 🙂