Do you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia?
No, I didn’t fall asleep on my keyboard, that is an actual word. It means fear of Friday the 13th. Not the movie, the actual day of the month.
I fear a lot of things (change, vegetables and colossal squid to name a few) but I do not fear Fridays or 13s. For some reason this is an actual fear for a lot of people. Let’s find out why.
You may have noticed that I skipped Wonder Why Wednesday this week. That is because I was saving my wondering for today…
Wonder Why Friday: Why is Friday the 13th Unlucky?
According to Mental Floss, no one knows exactly where the idea that Friday the 13th is unlucky originated.
One theory traces the idea back to a Norse myth about twelve gods who had a dinner at Valhalla. Mental Floss says that this dinner took place at “the fabled hall where legendary Norse heroes feasted for eternity after they died—that was interrupted by a thirteenth guest, the evil and mischievous god Loki. According to legend, Loki tricked Höðr (the blind god of winter and son of Odin, the supreme god in Norse mythology) into shooting his brother Baldr (the benevolent god of summer who was also Odin’s son) with a magical spear tipped with mistletoe—the only substance that could defeat him. Thus the number thirteen was branded as unlucky because of the ominous period of mourning following the loss of such powerful gods by this unwanted thirteenth guest.”
Another theory that has to do with an unwanted thirteenth guest has biblical roots. Jesus was betrayed by one of his twelve Apostles, Judas, who was the thirteenth guest to arrive for the Last Supper.
So basically the number 13 is unlucky because some bad dudes just happened to be the 13th person to come to the party. But why Friday?
This also can be traced back to the Bible. Early accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion agree that it took place on Friday, the day common for crucifixions in Rome.
It also became a tradition in America in the late-nineteenth century to hold all executions on Friday. In The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer noted, “And on a Friday fell all this mischance.” Fridays have long been a day reserved for bad things.
But that is just in America. Friday the 13th isn’t a big deal in other cultures, which have their own unlucky days: Greeks and Spanish-speaking countries consider Tuesday the 13th to be the unluckiest day, while Italians steer clear of Friday the 17th.
Basically it sounds like Americans took two unlucky things and combined them into one crazy superstition. Seems like just be a bunch of hoopla that has nothing to do with luck.