Friday the 13th: Fears and Facts

Friday the 13th: Fears and Facts

The fear of Friday the 13th is called either Paraskavedekatriaphobia from the Greek words Paraskeví , for "Friday", and dekatreís for "thirteen" or Friggatriskaidekaphobia using the word Frigga for the Norse goddess for whom "Friday" is named.

  • Being afraid of Friday the 13th is the most common superstition in the United States today. 
  • As many as 21 million Americans  (about 7% of the US population) will change their behavior on Friday the 13th, for example, people won't leave their house, they don't go to work, they don't shop, they don't eat out, etc. resulting in millions of lost dollars to the economy. 
  • The connection between the Friday the 13th superstition and the Knights Templar (they were arrested on Friday the 13th, 1307)  was popularized in the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code 
  • It is a lucky day for some, the first 'Friday the 13th' horror movie was released in May 1980 and despite only having a budget of $550,000 it grossed $59.7 million at the box office. And the entire 'Friday the 13th' movie franchise has made over $465 million at the box office.  
  • If you are afraid of the number 13 in general, this fear is called triskaidekaphobic. 
  • This fear is so widespread that many apartment buildings and hotels don't have a 13th floor.
  • The number 13 is considered unlucky for may reasons including that it takes 13 turns of rope to make a traditional hangman's noose and at the Last Supper of Jesus Christ there were thirteen people around the table.  
  • Many parents believe that 13 is unlucky because that's when a child becomes a teenager! :-) 
  • Did you know that diners in Paris can hire a "quatorzieme" or professional 14th guest, just so superstitious patrons with 13 members in their party can enjoy their meals in peace?  
  • U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.  
  • Some people consider Friday itself to be an unlucky day. In pagan Rome, Friday was execution day (later Hangman's Day in Britain.) It has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century's The Canterbury Tales.  It has also been suggested that Friday has been considered an unlucky day because Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

So, since some people have a fear of the number 13, and some a fear of Fridays, put them together and that can make Friday the 13th pretty scary!

Note: they do say that since people tend to be extra careful on Friday the 13th and fewer people are out traveling and driving it is actually a safer day!!