Paraskevidekatriaphobia, a fear of Friday the 13th
Today, Friday March 13th, is the second time this year that we have had a Friday the 13th.
This is a recognized name for people who believe that this day holds a superstition that this day will bring good or bad luck, but mostly bad luck.
We still have one more Friday the 13th to come this year too, on November 13th. You can only have three in one year and we do in 2009.
"You can't have any [years] with none and you can't have any with four because of our funny calendar," said Underwood Dudley, a professor emeritus of mathematics at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and author of Numerology: Or, What Pythagoras Wrought.
It is actually a coincidence that the 13th day falls more often on Fridays than on any other day of the week.
The fear is supposedly originally rooted in an ancient Norse myth about 12 gods hosting a dinner party in their heaven dining room when Loki, an uninvited disliked guest walks in. Loki causes mischief when he gets Hoder, the blind god to shoot Balder the Beautiful with an arrow tipped with mistletoe. When Balder died, the earth became dark and everyone mourned, hence it was an unlucky day.
Also in the Bible, Judas who betrayed Jesus was the 13th apostle to be invited to the Last Supper.
In Ancient Rome, people only gathered in groups of 12, never 13.
The number 12 is also so complete as there are 12 months in the year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 apostles of Jesus etc, that to come after such a complete number is unlucky in itself. Jesus was believed to have been crucified on Friday the 13th as well.
Some who suffer so greatly from Paraskevidekatriaphobia won't even do anything on Friday the 13th and it has been estimated that $800 to $900 million is lost in business on this day. Some people are just anxious while others suffer full blown panic attacks.
Some cultures do not even build the 13th floor in to their buildings. There is not usually a 13th gate at airports and hotels do not usually have a 13th room for guests to stay in.
Streets in Florence, Italy do not have number 13 houses; instead they are written as 12 1/2.
Do you have any fears about Friday the 13th?
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Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada