It’s a well-known fact that Friday the 13th is said to be the unluckiest day for many in the English-speaking world. The date is so dreaded, that in 1980 a horror film was released bearing it as its title.However, in Spain, it’s a little different. In fact, the date that strikes the most superstition amongst Spanish people is actually Tuesday the 13th. But what are the origins of this superstition and why do the Spaniards fear it?

Tuesday the 13th: The number 13.

Many all over the world consider the number 13 an unlucky one, even some airlines don’t include it in their aisle numbers. It’s not known exactly why, but the number 13 has negative connotations in different religions and cultures.

For example, in Christianity, during the Last Supper, there were twelve apostles and Jesus. It is considered that Judas was the unlucky 13th guest at the supper, as he betrayed Jesus, leading to his crucifixion. In the bible, the Book of Revelations, or the Apocalypse, relates its 13th chapter to the Antichrist, adding a negative connotation to the number.

The number also has a negative presence in other beliefs, such as Kabbalah, where there are 13 malevolent spirits. It is also present in Scandinavian mythology, when Loki, God of Evil, was the 13th guest invited to dinner in Valhalla.

Tuesday the 13th: Why Tuesday?

The days of the week in Spanish have their roots in Roman mythology and the planets, and we have a post about this on our blog . The word for Tuesday, martes, comes from the planet Mars, named after the Roman God of War. So, for many Spaniards, Tuesday is associated with war, death, destruction, blood and violence.

In addition to this, historically, Tuesday can be considered as an unlucky day. On Tuesday the 19th of May 1453, the old city of Constantinople was captured by the Ottoman Army, marking the end of the Byzantine Empire. This was a huge loss for Christianity, and from then on, Tuesday evolved to be considered as bad luck. Elsewhere in history, according to legend, it was on Tuesday the 13th that the fragmentation of languages, also known as “The Confusion of Tongues” took place, as a result of the construction of the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel is referenced in many religions and cultures, and could be one of the reasons why Tuesday the 13th is considered to be so superstitious in Spain today.

Now that you know about this unlucky day, make sure you take extra care: as the Spaniards say “en martes, ni te cases, ni embarques ni de tu casa te apartes”, meaning “don’t get married, get on a boat, or leave your house on a Tuesday”! Is there a similar unlucky day in your country? Let us know in the comments!

If you would like to learn more about Spanish culture, go and experience it with a Spanish course in Spain! Take a look at our website, and book a course for any time of the year! (although, maybe try and avoid a course that falls on Tuesday the 13th…)


Sophie Lauro


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