Today is Good Friday. It is also Friday the 13th. It is the first time since 1990 that the two days have coincid ed, and this usually happens only four or five times a century.
The next time Good Friday falls on Friday the 13th will be April 13, 2063, followed by April 13, 2074, April 13, 2085 and April 13, 2096.
While it may seem ironic that a day called 'good' coincides with a day which, according to superstition, is considered unlucky, there might be a connection between the two days.
According to the Ken Collins' Web site, calling the day of the crucifixion of Jesus 'good' is peculiar to English. In German, for example, an obsolete word meaning 'mourning' is used because that is the day the disciples mourned.
The word 'good', in fact, might be a contraction of 'God's', as in God's Friday, the Web site suggests.
When asked to comment on any possible relationship between Good Friday and Friday the 13th, Mr Collins e-mailed Young Post this reply:
'You will notice that there were 13 people at the Last Supper: Jesus and His 12 Apostles.
'In previous, more pious ages, every Friday was a Christian fast day and that brought the events of Good Friday to mind. So when Friday fell on the 13th, it heightened one's awareness of the significance of the day. In addition, if a dinner party had 13 guests, it casts an ominous pall over the proceedings because of the similarity to the Last Supper.
'It used to be that hosts would rush out and invite someone at the last minute or that a guest would volunteer to stay home . . .'
Through the 1950s, many tall buildings did not have a 13th floor and some airliners did not have a 13th row. In recent years, however, these superstitions are not taken as seriously as they used to be.
'The superstition about Friday the 13th has become a sort of game for most people,' Mr Collins wrote.