Friday the 13th is a date associated with bad luck. On this day, millions of superstitious people avoid meetings with black cats, stay away from mirrors for fear of breaking them, refuse to drive and travel by plane. Hotels and hospitals often skip the 13th floor, and airports skip the 13th exit.
There is a term for the fear of Friday the 13th – paraskavedecatriaphobia or frigatriskaidekaphobia. The fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia.
The association with bad luck may be biblical – 13 were the guests at the Last Supper when Jesus was betrayed. He was crucified the next day – Friday. It is also possible that the 13th is out of favor because it is after the 12th, as are the months. The signs of the zodiac, the gods of Olympus, the feats of Hercules, the tribes of Israel and the apostles of Jesus are also a dozen.
In the Middle Ages, Friday was called Hanging Day because criminals were executed then. There were 13 steps to the scaffold, so many loops on the gallows, 13 pence was paid to the executioner.
President Franklin Roosevelt did not travel on Friday the 13th, nor did he host dinner parties for 13 people. Even the great Napoleon suffered from a morbid fear of the fatal number.
The worst Friday 13th crash on record was in October 1972 when a plane crashed in the Andes. 12 people died and the survivors were forced to feed on corpses before being rescued after 72 days.
The end of the world is also expected on this date. According to forecasts, on Friday the 13th in 2029, the 320 m diameter asteroid 99942 Apophis will pass dangerously close to Earth. According to NASA scientists, if the asteroid were to make landfall, it would devastate a region the size of Texas. If it falls into the ocean, it can cause huge waves.