Scared of Friday the 13th? The date associated with bad luck, haunted houses and that 1980s slasher-film series will be extra spooky this week—it will get a full moon for the first time in six years.
As the sun sets today, one of the most well-known full moons”•the Harvest Moon”•will fill the night sky and possibly bring a little extra bad luck with it, even if farmers generally consider such a lunar occurrence beneficial.
Considered an unlucky day in Western superstition, Friday the 13th happens at least once every year but can occur up to three times in the same year. In 2019, it happens twice: Today and on Dec. 13.
A Friday the 13th occurs during any month that begins on a Sunday. In 2018, it also occurred twice, in April and July. There will be two Friday the 13ths in 2020 too, while the years 2021 and 2022 will have just one each.
The superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, originating from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion, in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan (Maundy Thursday), the night before his death on Good Friday.
This is according to American anthropologist John DellaContrada, who wrote about it in 2004. “When ‘13’ and Friday come together, it is a double whammy,” he said.
What sticks with modern minds, however, is the series of 11 movies titled after the date, which also made its “star,” the masked killer Jason Voorhees, a pop culture icon.
“The popular horror franchise has taken over a day once steeped in superstition; now it belongs to Jason Voorhees,” wrote Meagan Navarro for the website Bloody-Disgusting.com.
Nearly 40 years after audiences first glimpsed young Jason at Camp Crystal Lake, fans can’t get enough of Jason, as “Friday the 13th” is the top-grossing horror franchise in the United States.
While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century, according to several experts.
Meanwhile, a full moon in September is called a harvest moon as it’s the full moon nearest to Sept. 23, the autumnal equinox.
“The Harvest Moon provides the most light at the time of year when it was traditionally needed most: during the harvest,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac explained on their website.
But unlike the stunningly bright supermoon that starred in so many great photos back in February, this one will appear 14 percent smaller than that, leading some to call it a micro moon, the website CNET reported.
That’s because the moon is nearly at apogee, the Farmers’ Almanac reported, meaning it’s at the point in its orbit where it’s at its greatest distance from Earth, 252,100 miles away.
Regardless of superstitions, this will be the last time there will be a full moon on the same day as Friday the 13th for nearly 30 years.