Perhaps you have realized that tomorrow is Friday the 13th, 2013!
Friggatriskaidekaphobics (people who suffer with a phobia of Friday the 13th) will certainly not miss the double 13 whammy of this date. Even those who don’t overly fear Friday the 13th, this date looms in the back of their minds. Perhaps they won’t fly on this date or drive any further than necessary or avoid eating out.
How did Friday the 13th get such a bad reputation? Well horror fans will tell you it’s because of the movie franchise, but no, there’s more to it than that. It can be nearly impossible to tell when a superstition very first come to be but there are some interesting ideas around why 13 is so feared.
Christianity had a hand in it. Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, was the 13th guest at the last supper and Christ was crucified on a Friday. According to historians Friday was already known as Hangman’s day so it wasn’t a stretch for medieval Christians to marry the two fears. There is also an obscure belief that Cain murdered Abel on a Friday the 13th, role model for Jason? Perhaps.
Even earlier than that there is a Norse myth about a party of 12 gods being crashed by a 13th uninvited guest, Loki. He arranged the assassination of Balder the Beautiful, god of joy and gladness, causing the whole earth to mourn. This may lend to a superstition that if 13 people sit down to dinner one of them will be die within a year, bon appétit!
We couldn’t possibly forget about witches on this day, right? Ancient Romans believed that witches gathered in groups of 12, the 13th member was the devil.
You may scoff at such superstition but it’s been estimated that hundreds of millions of dollars are lost in business on this day due to people avoiding business they would normally do. As for myself, this is the only date I ever buy lottery tickets because that’s how I roll. I have yet to win. Coincidence? Perhaps.
- Friggatriskaidekaphobia: Third of Britons change plans due to fear of Friday the 13th (mirror.co.uk)