Paraskevidekatriaphobia

This is the longest word you will see in this blog. It means fear of Friday 13th, which is today.

In the Western world Friday 13th is associated with bad luck. How many times can we get this day in one year? There is no real routine, but it can occur once, twice or sometimes three times a year. The next one is in April.

Why is Friday 13th considered an unlucky day? Nobody really knows, but it seems that it is the combination of the unlucky number 13, with the bad day, Friday, which equals the mega-unlucky day of Friday 13th.

There is no doubt that 13 is considered by many people to be unlucky, for example:

Many buildings have no 13th floor.

Many cities have no 13th Street nor 13th Avenue.

Many airports have no Gate 13.

Many hospitals and hotels have no Room 13.

Many people will leave a party or a meal with 13 guests.

And there are many more examples, plus of course Apollo 13!

So why is 13 so unlucky?

The most popular view is that there were 13 guests at the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, before he died, as shown in a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Added to this is the view that 12 is a ‘complete’ or ‘perfect’ number. There are 12 months in the year, 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 tribes of Israel, and many more, which suggests that 13 is an imperfect (and evil?) number.

And what about Friday?

Christian belief is that Jesus Christ died on a Friday, and it is also thought that Eve gave Adam an apple on a Friday.

So, 13 and Friday make a strong combination. On Friday October 13th 1307, exactly 699 years ago King Philip of France arrested, tortured and killed thousands of Knights Templar, who were a very powerful group that protected Christians (though there are many stories of their corruption), and who are included in the recent book, ‘The da Vinci Code’.

There is also the fact that every month that includes Friday 13th starts with Sunday 1st which, according to Christians, is God’s day of rest, but why this is a sign of bad luck I don’t know.

One other fact: research in the UK shows that on Friday 13th there is less traffic on the streets (lots of people stay indoors), but there are more traffic accidents than normal. Is this because of bad luck, or because people get more nervous and panicky?

To be honest I’m not at all superstitious about Friday 13th, but I’m glad that my children weren’t born on this day.

5 thoughts on “Paraskevidekatriaphobia

  1. There is unlucky number In Japan too.

    It’s 4. Because the pronunciation of this number in Japanese means “death”.

    So many hospitals and hotels have no room 4.

    Then odd numbers are also considered as unlucky number.

    The reason is that they are not divisible by 2.

    Finally number 8 is considered as lucky number.

    The reason is 8 in chinese character has good sharp for people who use

    chinese character -Japanese, Chinese.

    I would like to tell you the reason why we think the sharp is lucky.

    However it’s hard for me to explain in English , sorry.

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  2. It’s nice to be reminded of the movie ‘Mary Poppins’. Although it’s a movie for children I really recommend it, excellent entertainment.

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  3. “Friday the 13th” is just a feel-good word for me. Why? Because when something undesirable happens on the day, I just say “Oh, it’s Friday the 13th! It can happen. No fault on my own. And I’m not the only one unlucky.”
    Number 13 is not always bad. In the movie “13 Days”, the catastrophe which could have been the end of mankind, was avoided after 13 days. The experience with Apollo 13 also tells us that the combined wisdoms and efforts of people can beat a disaster.
    You see “Just a spoonful of sugar help some medicine go down.” That’s a song in “Mary Poppins”, which reminds me of the longest ever word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. It is a kind of abracadabra you use when the cat got your tongue, or when you have to say something but you can’t. – Sorry to beat you, 2pat. I don’t know if any dictionaries have the word, but the spellchecker of Microsoft Word recognizes it. Therefore I conclude the word is more or less legitimate.
    Here’s a page containing lyrics from “Mary Poppins”
    http://fpx.de/fp/Disney/Lyrics/MaryPoppins.html

    By the way, the lucky number in Europe is nine. That is what I learned way back in the days when I was in university, and is something you learn when you are introduced to Indo-European language family. In the old forms of European languages, nine and new had the same sound. And when you count to 9, it’s the end of one digit number and you start afresh from 10. So number 9 signifies renewal. I also heard that Jesus died at 3 p.m. which is the ninth hour of the day on the old clock. So his death on the cross was just the beginning of his new life as Christ or the savior.
    We also have “right is right” in European languages. The adjective “dexter” means both “being on right hand side” and “lucky”, while “sinister” has the opposite meanings on both accounts.

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