HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – What does Friday the 13th mean?

Some point towards this day as a very unlucky one waiting to happen. Some might reference a movie with the same name.

However, where does this phrase come from?

Moira Marsh is a Librarian at Indiana University specializing in Anthropology, Folklore and Sociology, and she states the term Friday the 13th isn’t as old as one might think.

“It’s a culmination of two older superstitions, one dating back to medieval times. Fridays were considered unlucky, and if 13 people dine together, one will die within the year. In the beginning of the 20th century, they got combined together.”

Aside from the common superstitions such as black cats and breaking mirrors, Marsh also says superstitions can cross over into sports.

“If it’s an activity where there’s an element of chance, personal rituals can come in and can cure anxiety.”

Despite this, Marsh says most people don’t change their behaviors because of one day.

“The thing you have to ask is the knowledge of the ideas is very widespread, but having a significant impact on a given day is much less common. Most know about it, and it might come to the forefront of conversations but most don’t change their behavior.”

Marsh also comments one might start to hear about more superstitions when Friday the 13th rolls around.

“We have this one staring at us, so it might bring others to mind.”