Friday, June 13, 2008

Do you know what day this is?

Are you feeling a little aprehensive today? Are you wondering if it is safe to even get out of bed? If you are, then you may be suffering from paraskevidekariaphobia.

"Paraskevidekatriaphobia," (also spelled "Paraskavedekatriaphobia"), is an irrational fear of Friday the 13Th. It is estimated that approximately 8% of the US population still fear this old superstition.

Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13.
Triskaidekamania, is an excessive enthusiasm for the number 13.

In 1993, the British Medical Journal, published a paper titled; "Is Friday the 13Th bad for your health?" The paper looked at traffic patterns/accidents and related hospital visits over a period of a few years, for Friday the 6Th vs. Friday the 13Th. It found that more people drove on the 6Th than the 13Th, but there were more vehicle accidents resulting in trips to the hospital on the 13Th.

Most cities have no 13Th Street or 13Th Avenue. Some cities don't even use the 13 in their street numbers. Few buildings have a 13Th floor. Well it may have been bad luck for some addresses, but 1313 Mockingbird Lane turned out to be the perfect address for "The Munsters" !

13 people gathered in one spot or for a dinner is seen as bad luck. The Last Supper was attended by 13 people; Jesus and his 12 disciples. Judas was the 13Th guest to arrive. Then there is the Norse myth about 12 gods having a party at Valhalla. The mischievous Loki showed up as the uninvited 13Th guest and tricked Hod (blind god of darkness) into killing Baldur (the god of joy and gladness).

There is also a superstition that if your name has 13 letters, you will have the devil's luck. Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and Theodore Bundy all had 13 letters in their names. I'm not buying this one as I have several friends and relatives whose first and last name add up to 13 letters. They are some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet and there is not a criminal among them!

So is the number 13 or Friday the 13Th cursed or is it just the nature of human psychology and superstitious beliefs?

For the average person, I doubt that most people think about it that much anymore. They get so wrapped up in their day to day life that unless there is a conscience reference to the actual date, they don't connect their luck unless it is particularly good or bad.

Ancient Egyptians saw 13 as lucky. They believed that there were 12 stages to spiritual ascension in this life and the 13Th was eternal life. 13 therefore symbolized a physical death. This belief was later seen as a fear of death rather than a reverence for the afterlife.
Twelve year olds eagerly anticipate turning 13 and officially becoming a teenager which is the gateway to new freedoms and eventually adulthood.. It is also the age that a Jewish boy is Bar Mitzvah. Girls may also celebrate Bat Mitzvah at age 12 or 13.
Some famous sports figures have worn the number 13 and it hasn't exact;y hurt their careers: Alex Rodriquez (baseball); Dan Marino (football); Wilt Chamberlin (basketball); and Steve Nash (hockey).
"Friday the thirteenth is also considered the unluckiest of days in many other superstitions, unless you were born on Friday the thirteenth -- in which case it is your lucky day." (quoted from The old poem "Mondays Child" also says that "Fridays child is loving and giving".

I've never been overly superstitious. Some people just seem to be naturally luckier than others. I've tended to have fairly good luck with the number 13, so I'm just going to take the day as it comes.

Interesting reading;

Good Luck!!


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