Friday, March 13, 2009


The fear of Friday the 13th, also known as paraskevidekatriaphobia, does not derive from scientific explanation. It stems from mythology, superstition, old wives’ tales and stories of tragedy that are connected to this day. It is unclear as to where superstitions surrounding the day originated from. Some say that the concept of Friday 13 being an unlucky day is linked with events that occurred in the Christian Bible, and they interpret that these events occurred on a Friday. Examples include the great flood during the time of Noah, the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel, the day Eve tempted Adam with the apple, and the day Jesus Christ died.

The superstition surrounding Friday 13 could also be linked to Norse mythology. According to legend, 12 gods were at a banquet at Valhalla when Loki, the god of mischief who was not invited, turned up, bringing the total number of guests to 13. He was responsible for the chaos that led to the death of one of the gods so all the gods grieved. The name Friday was also derived from a Norse deity, known either as Frigg or Freya, who appeared before a group of 12 witches and gave one of them her cats, which comprised 13 in the group after that.

The events that occurred on October 13, 1307, which was on a Friday according to the Gregorian calendar (although the Gregorian calendar was not introduced until 1582) is also said to be linked to the Friday 13 superstition. It was a day when officers of King Philip IV of France arrested masses of Templar knights for heresy, blasphemy and other activities. It is believed that hundreds of Templars were tortured or executed by burning at the stake despite popular belief that none of the charges were proven.

The fear of Friday 13 continues in many places around the world. According to Dr Donald Dossey, author and founder of the Stress Management Center/Phobia Institute, up to 21 million Americans fear Friday the 13th. He also said much money would be lost in business because people refused to shop, travel or take risks on this day. Moreover, symptoms of this fear range from mild anxiety and a nagging sense of doom to full-blown panic attacks. Friday 13 in August is considered unluckier than any other Friday 13 in Brazil, especially as agosto (so spelt) rhymes with desgosto (sorrow).

It is easy to blame Friday 13 for unfortunate events but this day was not always believed to be unlucky in history and in some cultures. The ancient Egyptians thought the number 13 was lucky because they believed that the 13th stage of life was related to the afterlife. After the decline of the ancient Egyptian civilization the number 13 was still associated with death but in a fearful manner. However, Friday is seen as the holiest day of the week in the Islamic world. It is set aside for communal worship where Muslims attend the Mosque. For people living in countries of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as Iraq, Friday is regarded as a day of rest.

I Hope your day was lucky!!



Marie said...

Friday the 13th has always been a lucky day for me. My birthday is on the 13th day and invariably sometimes that does fall on a Friday. 13 is my lucky number! Thanks for all the history about Friday the 13th. I learned something new! (which is always a good thing!)

Denni said...

It was my daughter's birthday yesterday on the Friday the 13th. She had a good day but me on the other hand~lol. Mom ruined her cake after staying up late the night before so I had to run to Walmart to get her a new cake. Luckily I didn't ruin that one too~lol. That was cool facts about the 13th. I didn't know anything about it.