Those battered by bad luck are bracing themselves for a triple shot of Friday the 13th.

 

The first passed last week, and there’s one in March and November.

 

Philip Hiscock, associate professor in the folklore department at Memorial University in Newfoundland, says we can relax.

 

“People make it out to be an ancient superstition, but Friday the 13th is not an old belief at all. It seems to have come about in the first 15 years of the 20th century.”

In the pre-war era, interest in rationalism was high and, as a point of irony, Friday the 13th clubs were formed to make fun of the superstitious.

The belief was formed by combining the traditionally unlucky day of Friday with the traditionally unlucky number 13. Friday owes its bad reputation to its association with the crucifixion of Jesus, and 13 is sometimes traced to the number of people at the Last Supper.

“The idea of luck gives us a sense that we’re more in control of a world that is largely out of control,” Hiscock explains. “By bottling up our sense of bad luck, we can feel more comfortable.”

He notes the triple threat is just math. February’s 28-day calendar is always repeated in March, and that pattern comes up again seven months later.

DeNel Rehberg Sedo of MSVU suggests the superstitious among us might want to take a vacation south.

“Friday the 13th is specific to European and North American cultures. South America actually calls Tuesday the 13th a day to be suspicious of,” she notes.