Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is superstitiously considered a day of bad luck in English-, French- and German-speaking countries, as well as in other countries around the world.

Similar superstitions exist in some other traditions. In Greece, Romania and Spanish-speaking countries, for example, it is Tuesday the 13th that is considered unlucky. In Italy, it is Friday the 17th.

The fear of Friday the 13th is called "paraskavedekatriaphobia", [Alternative spellings include paskevodekatriaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia.] a word derived from the concatenation of the Greek words "Paraskeví" (Παρασκευή) (meaning "Friday"), and "dekatreís" (δεκατρείς) (meaning "thirteen"), attached to "phobía" (φοβία) (meaning "fear"). The term is a specialized form of triskaidekaphobia, a simple "phobia" (fear) of the number thirteen appearing in any case.

History

Both the number thirteen and Friday have been considered unlucky:

*In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve recognized signs of the zodiac, the twelve tribes of Israel, the twelve Apostles of Jesus, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
*Friday, as the day on which Jesus Christ was considered by most Christian denominations to have been crucified, has been viewed both positively and negatively among Christians.

Despite the reputation of the two separated elements, there is no evidence for a link between the two before the 19th century. The earliest known reference in English occurs in a 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini:

:" [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; and if it be true that, like so many other Italians, he regarded Friday as an unlucky day, and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday, the 13th of November, he died." [Henry Sutherland Edwards, "The Life of Rossini", 1869, p. 340.]

However, only in the 20th century did the superstition receive greater audience, as

:"Friday the 13th doesn't even merit a mention in E. Cobham Brewer's voluminous 1898 edition of the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, though one does find entries for "Friday, an Unlucky Day" and "Thirteen Unlucky." When the date of ill fate finally does make an appearance in later editions of the text, it is without extravagant claims as to the superstition's historicity or longevity." [http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/historical/a/friday_the_13th_4.htm Why Friday the 13th Is Unlucky] ]

Though the superstition developed relatively recently, much older origins are often claimed for it, most notably in the novel "The Da Vinci Code" (and later the film), which traced the belief to the arrest of the Knights Templar on Friday October 13, 1307.

Effects in people and cultures

According to the "Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute" in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. "It's been estimated that [US] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day".John Roach, " [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/02/0212_040212_friday13.html Friday the 13th Phobia Rooted in Ancient History] ", "National Geographic News", August 12, 2004.] Despite this, representatives for both Delta and Continental Airlines say that their airlines don't suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays. [Josh Sens, " [http://www.viamagazine.com/top_stories/articles/lucky_1304.asp Some Don't Count on lucky] ", "Via Magazine", January 2004.]

A British Medical Journal study has shown that there is a significant increase in traffic-related accidents on Fridays the 13th. [T. J. Scanlon, R. N. Luben, F. X. Scanlon, N. Singleton, "Is Friday the 13th bad for your health?", "British Medical Journal", issue 307 (1993), p. 1584–1586.]

Fewer accidents

The Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics (CVS) on June 12, 2008, stated that "fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home; but statistically speaking, driving is a little bit safer on Friday 13th; in the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500. [ [http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/2008/06/13/friday-13th-is-no-longer-unlucky-89520-20605817/ www.mirror.co.uk, Friday 13th is no longer unlucky] ] [ [http://uk.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUKL1268660720080613 uk.reuters.com, Dutch study shows Friday 13th not more unlucky] ]

Occurrence

The following months have a Friday the 13th:

Patterns for leap years:

References

External links

* [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/02/0212_040212_friday13.html Friday the 13th Phobia Rooted in Ancient History]
* [http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/historical/a/friday_the_13th.htm Why Friday the 13th Is Unlucky] (About.com)
* [http://www.howstuffworks.com/friday-thirteenth.htm How Friday the 13th works] (HowStuffWorks.com)
* National Geographic: [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/02/0212_040212_friday13.html "Friday the 13th Phobia Rooted in Ancient History"]
* [http://altreligion.about.com/library/weekly/aa101306a.htm Friday the 13th and the Templars] - About.com article
* [http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110009086 Your Unlucky Day: The religious roots of triskaidekaphobia.]
* [http://www.viamagazine.com/top_stories/articles/lucky_1304.asp Some don't count on Lucky 13] - Via Magazine.
* [http://skepdic.com/paraskevidekatriaphobia.html Paraskevidekatriaphobia] - skepdic.com article on Friday the 13th
* http://www.infoplease.com/spot/friday13th.html
* [http://www.snopes.com/luck/friday13.asp A world of Luck: Friday the 13th] - Snopes.com article
* [http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Triskaidekaphobia.html Triskaidekaphobia on MathWorld]


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