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7 Unluckiest Days Around the World

Friday the 13th is just a starting point. Find out why the 8th, 9th, 17th, and more weekdays match the dread we feel on this day.

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What’s in a day?

Whether you are superstitious or not, you probably take a little extra care on Friday the 13th. You’re not alone—many other countries have their own version of an unlucky day. Check out the real reason we believe in superstitions.

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Why Friday? And why the 13th?

This day is considered in a bad omen in many Western countries, such as England, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and the U.S. Friday’s negative connotation may stem from that being the day the Romans typically held crucifixions—and therefore is thought to be the day Jesus was crucified, according to Mental Floss. One possible explanation for 13’s bad reputation may stem from a Norse myth in which the trickster god Loki was the 13th guest at a banquet and managed to bring about several deaths. Other sources point to the fact that there were 13 people in attendance at the Last Supper as a reason for the number’s significance. They may be onto something: Check out these 13 creepy things that actually happened on Friday the 13th.

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China: April 4th

The Chinese word for the number four sounds remarkably like the word for death. (This is also true in Japan.) Therefore, April 4—4/4—is the unluckiest day of the year. Additionally, many hotels in China do not have a fourth floor in hotels in the same way many Western hotels omit floor 13.

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Greece: Tuesday the 13th

Greeks dislike Tuesday because their word for the day is Triti, which also means “third”—and bad luck comes in threes. The culture’s dislike of the number 13—and Tuesdays—stems from the fall of Constantinople, which apparently took place on Tuesday the 13th.

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Italy: Friday the 17th

For this superstition, we have to involve Roman numerals: 17 (XVII) is dangerously close to VIXI which means “I have lived” and implies death in the present. Check out the history behind these common omens.

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Japan: September 9th

In Japanese, the word nine sounds similar to the Japanese word for torture or suffering, making September 9 (or 9/9) a lousy day for a birthday. Here’s what all those lasting superstitions—like black cats and rainbows—really mean.

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Spain: Tuesday the 13th

Like the Greeks, Spaniards really hold it against the Ottoman Turks, who took Constantinople on Tuesday the 13th during the Fourth Crusade, according to U.S. News and World Report. Martes, the Spanish word for Tuesday, comes from the god of war, Mars, adding to its ominous reputation.

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India: August 8th

Eight is the number of the Hindu god Shani, who happens to be the god of breakups and strife—and he has a lethargic personality. That means 8/8 is an inauspicious date in Indian culture. There’s even a horror film called Ei8ht Shani.

If you think you’re superstitious, check out these bizarre superstitions of the royal family.