Why Friday the 13th Is Not an Unlucky Day

Oct 13, 2017

Friday the 13th is not an unlucky day--not when migratory monarchs make a pit stop at your home on their way to their overwintering sites.

Today a male monarch fluttered into our pollinator garden in Vacaville, Calif., and sipped nectar from a tropical milkweed. We offered him a choice: Mexican sunflower, lavender, verbena, butterfly bush, sedum, lantana or the tropical milkweed.

"Make mine milk (weed)," he seemed to say as he lingered on the plants.

We're hoping his buddies will stop by, too. Any time.

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition, according to Wikipedia. "It occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday, which can be the case at least once every year, and up to three times a year. In 2017, it occurs twice, on January 13 and October 13. There will be two Friday the 13ths per year until 2020, where 2021 and 2022 will have just one occurrence."

In its online entry, Wikipedia outdoes itself. It lists all the Friday the 13ths that have occurred since 1900, and will occur until 2100.

There's even a special name for it: "paraskevidekatriaphobia." That's Greek. Paraskeví means Friday, and dekatreís, 13. American psychotherapist Donald E. Dossey (1934-2016), who specializied in phobias and stress management, coined the term in the early nineties. He reportedly claimed that anyone able to pronounce the word would be cured of it.

"Paraskevidekatriaphobia" does not exist in our household. Indeed, Friday the 13th is a lucky number. Our son is a Friday the 13th baby. So when that day rolls around--no matter how many times a year--we rejoice.

It's a bonus when monarchs flutter into our yard.