This Friday, a full moon will be visible in the sky, which will be the first time in nearly 20 years that it will coincide with Friday the 13th. If this was not spooky enough for the people in the west, this full moon is also a “Harvest Moon”.
A Harvest Moon is the full moon nearest the start of fall or the autumnal equinox– when the length of day and night are the same. This means, it typically coincides with the September full moon but it can occasionally occur around the October full moon as well.
In the US, the Harvest Moon of 2019 will reach its peak on September 14 at 12:33 am. The Old Farmer’s Almanac says, “For the best view, look skyward on the night of the 13th– Friday the 13th, no less.”
Why is it called the Harvest Moon?
Normally, the Moon rises an average of 50 minutes after the sunset but the Harvest Moon comes soon after the sunset due to autumn equinox. It creates an abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening, which had been a traditional aide to farmers in the past with harvesting of their summer-grown crops. Hence, the name “Harvest” Moon.
With Harvest Moon coinciding with Friday the 13th, the phenomenon is being seen as a spooky element in the west, given superstitions about the date. There’s also the theory that 13 gets a bad rep for coming after the “complete” number twelve — twelve months in a year, twelve signs in the zodiac, etc. — a numerologist explained to National Geographic.
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States fear this day, which makes it the most feared day and date in the history. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.
“It’s been estimated that $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they normally would do,” a historian told the National Geographic. The last time full moon coincided with Friday the 13th was on October 13, 2000, and the next time it will happen on August 13, 2049.