Friday the 13th

February 13th, 2009

Paraskavedekatriaphobia.  That’s the word for people who are afraid of Friday the 13th.  There’s an interesting discussion at Wikipedia

People who study this sort of thing say that something like 17 to 21 million people in the U.S. suffer (if that’s the right word) from paraskavedekatriaphobia.  Apparently, the fear is so serious in some people that they avoid the normal routines of their lives, to include getting out of bed.

There are lots of ideas about how this particular “special day” came into being.  The real answer is no one knows for sure.

Here’s one belief:

The…origin…appears to be a tale in Norse mythology. Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil – a gathering of thirteen – and plotted ill turns of fate for the coming week. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as “Witches’ Sabbath.”

If you don’t like that one, here’s another made popular by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code: 

The Knights Templar were a monastic military order founded in Jerusalem in 1118 C.E., whose mission was to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, the Knights Templar became extraordinarily powerful and wealthy. Threatened by that power and eager to acquire their wealth, King Philip secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France on Friday, October 13, 1307 – Friday the 13th.

Others say the origins of Friday the 13th fears may be much more recent, since there are few mentions of it prior to 1907.

The bad news is there are three Friday the 13th traumas in 2009–in February, March, and November.  The good news is there will be only one in 2010, in August, and one in 2011, in May.  But then comes 2012, with a Friday the 13th again in three months–January, April, and July. 

In any event, just be careful out there!  And you paraskavedekatriaphobiacs should maybe just spend the day in bed with the covers over your heads.


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4 Responses to “Friday the 13th”



  1. Lillie |

    Tom, not sure if you knew it, but Friday 13th is the family’s LUCKY day. The eldest granddaughter living with me was born on Friday the 13th, as well as her mother being born on Friday 13th. Her mother was born at 7 lbs 6 oz, chest and abdomen measurements 6 and 7 inches, and born at 5:13 p.m. Crazy, huh? So we look forward to Friday 13th’s as good luck, so we definitely do not suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia!


  2. Tom |

    Interesting. I knew some of those 13s, but not all of them. In any case, everything comes out to 7 eventually.


  3. Brian |

    Friday, 13 Feb 1987 was a bad day for me. I suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax that made me a FFFF status for the military. I had everything set to go to PLC at Quantico…until I had my physical where I disclosed this (hadn’t even really thought about it until that time). Last Friday (also 13 Feb) was my 22 year anniversary of that event. I can never SCUBA dive because of that (*&%(*&$% pneumothorax (imagine popping a lung at 3+ ATM (with a 15 minute decompression stop at 66 feet and then again at 33 feet). I’m not even certain I’ll be able to get my PPL.


  4. TABBI |

    Luck is what you make it and it has no bearing whatsoever on any day of the week or date of the month.


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