The next Friday the 13th is almost here.
At least once a year – sometimes thrice, the Gregorian calendar aligns to what is widely considered an unlucky date – perhaps especially among the nearly half of Americans who consider themselves to be a little superstitious.
Some avoid breaking a mirror, walking under a ladder, or crossing in front of a black cat on the sometimes freaky Fridays.
But did you know the day has also been associated with everything from asteroids and bikers to tattoo shops and Taylor Swift?
Here are 13 fun facts about the day:
1. What is Friday the 13th’s origin?
It’s hard to know the exact origin of the day and when it became thought of as unlucky, but it historians say it could stem from Christianity.
In the Bible, Judas Iscariot – the disciple who betrayed Jesus Christ – was the 13th guest at the Last Supper. Also in the Bible, many unfortunate things happened on Fridays including Christ’s crucifiction. The day has since been associated with “general ill omen,” said Michael Bailey, a history professor at Iowa State University who specializes in the origins of superstitions.
Another account suggests that the day has been associated with misfortune since 1307 when on a Friday the 13th, the French king gave the orders to arrest hundreds of Knights Templar in France. Most of them were executed.
2. When is the next Friday the 13th?
Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition and takes place at least once a year but can occur up to three times in the same year
The next Friday the 13th is well, Friday Jan. 13.
After that, it falls in October (SPOOKY!).
In 2024, it takes place in September and December.
3. So what does Friday the 13th mean?
According to History.com, Western cultures have “historically associated the number 12 with completeness” – with examples ranging from 12 months in the calendar or 12 days of Christmas, to the 12 gods of Olympus.
But 13 has a long record of bad luck.
For example, the ancient Code of Hammurabi, one of the oldest legal codes (written in the 1700s B.C.), reportedly left out a 13th law. The absence was probably a clerical or translation error, but some still point to it for adding negative connotations of the number.
4. There’s a phobia for the day. It’s hard to spell.
If you are afraid of Friday the 13th, you have a phobia known as Paraskavedekatriaphobia.
There’s also fancy word for fear of the number 13 – triskaidekaphobia.
Not sure how to pronounce them? NPR offers this nifty audio guide.
5. Tattoo shops eat the day up
For those in the tattoo scene, it’s tradition for select tattoo shops to offer special deals for flash tattoos whenever the legendary day rolls around.
Check your local tattoo parlor for deals.
6. Scared? Blame your family.
It’s unclear when Friday and the number 13 became linked in the way we think of them today, according to Stuart Vyse, a psychologist and author of “Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition.”
There are no mentions of Friday the 13th before the 19th century. But Vyse said you can largely blame your family for passing on the superstition of the day.
“Research shows that for some people it doesn’t matter if they know having a 6-6-6 license plate or staying on the 13th floor of a hotel means nothing, they want to exercise the superstition or be influenced by it, even if it’s irrational,” Vyse said.
7. Friday the 13th-themed weddings are available
The Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel offers special zombie, vampire and “Rocky Horror”-themed ceremonies on Friday the 13th.
“Our #rockyhorror weddings are so fun everyone will want to do the “Time Warp” again!” the chapel posted on Facebook earlier this year.
8. Some bad things happened in history that day
9. You’re not more likely to make a trip to the ER
A 2011 German study published in the World Journal of Surgery explored whether there is a link between Friday the 13th and an increase of blood loss and the frequency of emergency room visits on those days.
Researchers reviewed 3,281 days at a hospital facility that included 15 Friday the 13ths. They found no correlation.
“Our data indicate that such beliefs are myths far beyond reality,” the study concludes
10. A large asteroid will fly by Earth on Friday the 13th…in 2029
On Friday April 13, 2029, a large asteroid will fly close enough to the Earth to be visible without a telescope in the Eastern Hemisphere, according to NASA.
The asteroid Apophis will pass less than 20,000 miles from our planet’s surface.
11. Canadian bikers are big fans
The Friday the 13th Motorcycle Rally is a motorcycle rally held every Friday the 13th in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada since 1981.
Its typical summer attendance exceeds 100,000 bikers.
12. These celebrities were born on the day
Celebrities born on Friday the 13th include Darrius Rucker, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Steve Buscemi, Kate Walsh, Kat Dennings and Peter Tork.
13. Taylor Swift and the number 13
Early in her career, megastar Taylor Swift would often perform with the number 13 – which the singer considers lucky – written on her hand.
“I was born on the 13th. I turned 13 on Friday the 13th. My first album went gold in 13 weeks. My first No. 1 one song had a 13-second intro,” she told MTV in 2009. “Every time I’ve won an award I’ve been seated in either the 13th seat, the 13th row, the 13th section or row M, which is the 13th letter. Basically, whenever a 13 comes up in my life, it’s a good thing.”
In her new ‘Midnights’ album, Swift even crafted 13 songs that she says are “stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life.”
Taylor Swift and the #13:Taylor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ album arrives Oct. 21: Here’s what we know so far
Some Funny Friday the 13th memes:
Contributing: USA TODAY’s Wyatte Graham-Phillps and Jolie Lee and Lori Grisham for the USA TODAY Network