Although there is no logical basis for the fear of Friday the 13th, some people actually suffer from this phobia. They’re called paraskevidekatriaphobics.
The superstition has both Christian and Norse roots and is a combination of two different fears. 13 is significant to Christians as it is the number of people present at the Last Supper. Jesus and his twelve apostles celebrated his last meal on earth, with Judas, the betrayer, as the 13th person to arrive.
The Last Supper by Gianpietrino
Ancient Norse mythology has its own version of the Last Supper, too. Their beloved hero Balder was at a banquet with eleven of his friends when the god of mischief Loki appeared, bringing their number to 13. Balder was killed in this banquet and subsequently, the number 13 has been deemed unlucky in Norse culture.
Christians are wary of Fridays because Jesus died on a Friday. And apparently Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in Eden on a Friday, and the Great Flood also started on a Friday–this according to some theologians. Historians say that maybe the Christian suspicion for Fridays began when the Catholic Church centuries ago began their suppression of the pagan religions, and women. Fridays were devoted to the goddess Venus in the Roman calendar. When the Norsemen adapted this calendar, they named the day after Freya, the Norse version of Venus, the goddess of love (and sex). This pagan worship of two strong female figures posed a threat to the male-dominated Christian society, so the theory says the church defamed the day named after them.
There were other events that added to this superstition. It was Friday the 13th in 1306, when King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and tortured them. Fridays were also the day for public hangings in British tradition, and there were supposedly 13 steps that led up to the noose.
I think the fear of Friday the 13th is more like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you learned that Friday the 13th was supposed to be a very unlucky day when you were young, you might consciously or subconsciously be looking for evidence to prove this is true. And once you find it, it’s easy for the superstition to become belief. Bad things can happen to you any day of the year, but if it happens to fall on Friday the 13th you might chalk it up to the date, instead of to coincidence.
I watched Friday the 13th when I was eight, and I remember being very scared of Jason. But it thankfully never inspired a fear of the date.
Jason from the movie Friday the 13th
Personally, I’m glad I don’t have Paraskevidekatriaphobia. It must be very debilitating to have a phobia for a day that happens once or twice a year.
I’m not sure about the phobia, but I think I’d be more afraid of the actual word. It would be a nightmare to spell in a spelling bee.
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