If you’re reading this article from beneath your covers, we completely understand. It’s Friday the 13th and you probably have what psychologists call paraskevidekatriaphobia. Or friggatriskaidekaphobia. Or triskaidekaphobia. (Good luck trying to pronounce all that.) Basically, you might suffer from the fear of the number 13.
There isn’t a logical reason to fear Friday the 13th, but then, fear is hardly logical. There are many theories about why Friday 13 is so unlucky.
First, there’s a problem with the number 13, which has been considered cursed across the world for thousands of years. The number 12 has been historically considered as the number of completeness. There are 12 months of the year, hours on the clock, gods of Olympus; 12 tribes of Israel, apostles of Jesus, and 12 imams in Shia belief. And there are many more reasons 13 is deemed unlucky. Across time and geography, the number is seen as an outlier which ruins perfection.
Then there’s the problem with Friday. Fridays weren’t too popular in the old days. Friday was known as hangman’s day, the day criminals were executed. There are also some biblical associations with Friday 13. Some believe that Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden on Friday 13, that it was the start of the Great Flood and that Jesus was also crucified on the day.
Put Friday and the number 13 together and you’ve created a monster. As a result, some remain locked indoors afraid of tempting bad luck; others brace themselves and nervously get through the day. Popular culture is also pretty obsessed with the fear of Friday the 13th and capitalises on the gloom with horror films and TV series which don’t help either.
Here are some of the things folk believe about Friday the 13th:
1. One of the most ominous things about the day is that it’s associated with death. It’s believed that if a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you’re going to be the next to die.
2. But it’s not just your life that’s in danger. Some say if you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die. So, if you have a hair appointment today, you might want to cancel it.
3. Then there’s the whole bad luck thing. Starting a trip on Friday the 14th is considered especially bad luck and setting sail on a ship on Friday 13th is just asking to be lost at sea. You may want to avoid travelling in general today.
4. Naturally, all the general rules of bad luck apply on Friday the 13th. If you break a mirror on Friday the 13th, that’s seven years of bad luck. If a black cat crosses your path or you walk under a ladder on Friday the 13th, expect even more misfortune.
5. And if you were a child born on Friday the 13th, too bad, you’re out of luck for life.
Basically, if paraskevidekatriaphobia is your thing, it might be best to just call it a day. Uhm… good luck?