Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s and many regard Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. This may originate from the Christian tradition to commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus on the Friday before Easter and the fact that there were 13 people at the table, including an infamous traitor (Judas). The date also bears a connection to the arrest of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master Templar, on Friday the 13th of October in the year 1307.
For some the superstition turns into a debilitating condition that prevents them from going about their usual routine. This fear of Friday the 13th has been called paraskevidekatriaphobia a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví meaning “Friday” and dekatreís “thirteen” attached to phobía “fear”.
In France, however, there is a mixed attitude to the superstition, as evidenced by the fact that La Française de Jeux reports that today there are twice the number of players on the Lotto or Euromillion game than on any other Friday, and in a nod to the date, the prize is guaranteed to be a minimum of 13 million euros. This could be a French way to turn a negative into a positive, or a different interpretation of the tradition as 13 is considered a lucky number in other cultures. Nevertheless, even in the most pragmatic of crowds in France you will find a discreet hesitation to sit 13 guests at the table.