A graphic circulating online states that, for the first time in 666 years, Halloween will fall on Friday the 13th.
It’s a joke.
The short response, of course, is that Halloween always falls on October 31, rendering the “Friday the 13th” reference void. Memes citing incorrect or impossible dates are common around notable calendar events. Every year, for example, we see “February 31” graphics testing the gullibility of social media users. This “Halloween Friday the 13th” graphic is another such example.
The graphic which we first discussed in 2014 reads, “Spooky Fact: 2014 is the first year in 666 years that Halloween falls on a Friday the 13th!” We are seeing renewed interest in this story in 2015 as Halloween approaches. It should be noted that October 13, 2015 falls on a Tuesday, not a Friday.
The term “Halloween” (or “Hallowe’en”) itself does not date back 666 years as the graphic suggests, which would be the year 1349 (as of 2015). It has only existed since the mid-1700’s, which was a shortening of “All Hallow’s Evening” or “Allhallow-even” which itself dates from the mid-1500’s.
Another version of the rumor above claims that 2015 will see the 666th celebration of Halloween, which is also untrue, based on the origins of the holiday which date hundreds of years later.
Although the word “Halloween” does not date back over 600 years, some of its customs have roots extend to pre-Christianity. The modern holiday draws from pagan and Christian traditions, with a strong influence coming from the Celtic festival Samhain which marks the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter. Another precursor to Halloween is the Roman Catholic day of All Saints Day, with the prior evening of this holy day referred to as “Hallows’ Eve.”
Graphics claiming that Halloween will occur on Friday the 13th for the first time in 666 years are simply internet jokes. The term Halloween is not even 666 years old, and the modern holiday is always celebrated on October 31.
Updated August 31, 2015
Originally published October 2014