Friggatriskaidekaphobia: Why Some People Fear Friday The 13th

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 13 September 2019, 07:22 AM
The horror movie Friday the 13th featured a masked killer called Jason (Image: New Line Cinema)
The horror movie Friday the 13th featured a masked killer called Jason (Image: New Line Cinema)

Check the calender- it's 13/09/2019 today - hardly remarable date. But what makes this day special is the day. It is Friday the 13th - a date wit perhaps the most superstition attached with it. The beliefs and myths around this date have prevailed for centuries now.

Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day by several in the Western world. 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, making it the most feared day and date in history. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. This fear of Friday the 13th is known as Friggatriskaidekaphobia. It also called paraskavedekatriaphobia. 

Why Friday the 13th is unlucky?

So what is behind the fear of Friday the 13th? Though it’s uncertain exactly when this particular tradition began, negative superstitions have swirled around the number 13 for centuries.

The number 13 has a long history as a sign of bad luck in Western cultures. According to the Judas Theory, the 'unlucky' No. 13 is related to the idea that at the Last Supper, Judas - the disciple who betrayed Jesus - was the 13th man to join the table.

Jesus Christ was crucified next day- on Good Friday. Friday was also said to be the day Eve gave Adam the fateful apple from the Tree of Knowledge, as well as the day Cain killed his brother, Abel.

While the combo of Friday and 13 was considered unlucky, the mention of Friday the 13th as an unlucky date first occured in 19th century. 

What bad things happened on Friday the 13th?

On Friday, October 13, 1307, officers of King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar, a powerful religious and military order formed in the 12th century for the defense of the Holy Land. The fall of the Aztec empire happened on this date.

According to history.com, in more recent times, a number of traumatic events have occurred on Friday the 13th- including the German bombing of Buckingham Palace in September 1940; the murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York in March 1964; a cyclone that killed more than 3,00,000 people in Bangladesh in November 1970; the disappearance of a Chilean Air Force plane in the Andes in October 1972; the death of rapper Tupac Shakur in September 1996 and the crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy, which killed 30 people in January 2012.

Close home, Delhi's Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy took place on Friday the 13th in June 1997. The 2017 Paris attacks also happened on Friday the 13th.

Jason and Friday the 13th 

The date gained more popularity or notoriety as it entered the popular fiction genre with films and books- in 1907, Thomas William Lawson published his novel Friday, the Thirteenth.

The horror movie Friday the 13th, released in 1980 and introduced the world to a hockey mask-wearing killer named Jason, and is perhaps the best-known example of the famous superstition in pop culture history. The movie spawned multiple sequels, as well as comic books, novellas, video games, related merchandise and countless terrifying Halloween costumes.

First Published: Friday, September 13, 2019 07:22 AM
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