Lunar lunacy? Full moon rising Friday the 13th

For the first time in 19 years, a full moon will rise on a Friday the 13th this week, meaning a double whammy of bad luck according to the superstitious.

The event is a rarity. It will not happen again until Aug. 13, 2049, according to NASA.

Pop culture myths hold that Friday’s that fall on the 13th day of the month are especially unlucky, but the origins of these myths are pretty murky. Most historians agree that the notion did not become popularized until the 1800s, subsequently appearing in books, poems and even a horror movie franchise.

The number 13 and Fridays each have their own twisting list of possible reasons for being dubbed unlucky. One common theory in which the two intermingle, reported by and Time, is that of the biblical Last Supper, where 13 dined together. Then Jesus was crucified the following day—supposedly a Friday—after being betrayed by one of the dinner guests, Judas.

Full moons also carry a bad rap. Ancient myths hold that the full moon negatively impacts human behavior. The terms lunacy and lunatic hail from luna, the Latin term for moon.

“Lunar theory” is the belief that there is some correlation between human behavior and the moon’s cycle. While the concept that a single day of the year is unluckier than any other does not hold scientific weight, there may be something to “lunar theory.”

A study published by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) titled “Lunar Effect- Biological Tides and Human Emotions” looked at this phenomenon.

The study abstract reads: “Extensive analyses of data on human behavior and lunar astronomy do not indicate that the moon causes madness and crime, but it is accurately indicated that the repression of the moon’s gravitational influence brings about social tension, disharmony and bizarre results.”

Another study in NCJRS out of Dade County, Florida even found that hospitals, police and medical examiners saw influxes of violence, suicide and psychiatric referrals during full moons over five years of data.

A handful of other studies point to potential effects to sleep, births, menstrual cycles and more according to AccuWeather Astronomy.

Still, lunar theory is not widely accepted as scientific fact just yet.

Friday’s moon will also be special as it is the Harvest Moon, the name given to the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox.

“The Harvest Moon is an old European name for this full moon; the Oxford English Dictionary cites the year 1706 for the first published use of the name,” the NASA site reads.

Before the creation of artificial electric lights, farmers would use the light of this bright moon to assist in harvesting their crops ahead of the coming colder months. Cultures across the globe have given similar nicknames to this lunar event.

For those seeking to view this lunar event, the moon will become visible at sunset Friday night, with ideal viewing in our area occurring at 11:33 p.m. according to NASA.

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