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Friday the thirteenth


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The widely current idea that Friday the thirteenth is unlucky is a modern combination of two older beliefs: the medieval fear of Friday, and a comparatively recent dislike of thirteen. The latter was first recorded at the end of the 17th century, in the limited context of people sitting at a meal; it became more common in the late 19th century, and especially in the 20th. The two ideas are not found in combination before the beginning of the 20th century, but the reputation of Friday the thirteenth is now thoroughly established, and constantly reinforced by the media.Opie and Tatem, 1989: 169, where the earliest record of the belief is from N&Q in 1913; Roud, 2003: 202–4.


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