Friday the thirteenth

Every year must contain at least one Friday 13th, but no more than three. The longest we can go without seeing a thirteenth is 14 months. This year has two: Today’s March and November.

The fear of Friday the 13th is friggatriskaidekaphobia which comes from Frigg, the Norse goddess of wisdom after whom Friday is named, and the Greek words triskaideka, meaning thirteen.

Just how many?

Here’s how many Friday the thirteenths there is every year for the foreseeable future.

(one) 2021, 2022, 2025, 2027, 2028, 2031, 2033, 2036, 2038, 2039

(two) 2023, 2024, 2029, 2030, 2032, 2034, 2035,

(three) 2026, 2037, 2040

The Friday the thirteenth sequence repeats every 28 years.

So what has this to do with London?

Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense was born in Leytonstone, east London on 13 August 1899 – remarkably his 100th birthday would have been Friday, 13 August 1999.

He made his directorial debut in 1922 with a movie called naturally – Number 13. Unfortunately, the film was doomed from the start and never got off the ground due to financial troubles.

Tyburn was a popular spot in London on Fridays as this day was once known as Hangman’s Day because it was usually when people who had been condemned to death would be hanged.

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales, where pilgrims walk from Borough High Street to Canterbury, relating stories to pass the time. In the Nun’s Priest’s Tale, she says “and a Friday fell all this mischance”.

With a province stretching back to the 1780s, the Eccentric Society took an interest in challenging superstitions and celebrated among its rituals was the Friday the thirteenth dinner, in which 13 members sat a dinner table surrounded by ‘unlucky’ objects, dining under ladders and held umbrellas and generally made of themselves lightning rods to bad luck.

Near miss?

Discovered in 2004 asteroid 99942 Apophis was thought to have a small chance of colliding with Earth on Friday, 13 April 2029. But you can rest easy because since then astronomers have revised their calculations and estimate it will miss us by miles.

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