No one really knows where the superstition of the number 13 came from, but some claim it’s because Jesus was said to be crucified on a Friday. Others say it’s because there’s 13 steps to the gallows, 13 witches in a coven and the 13th card in tarot is death. And did you know that some buildings don’t have a 13th floor? Yep, the elevator bypasses any bad luck by gliding from the 12th floor to the 14th! The fear of the number 13 itself is so universal, it has its only scientific moniker: triskaidekaphobia.
Whatever its origins, the fear is real. In fact, it’s the most feared date of the year. Hundreds of thousands of people across the Western world are so paralysed by fear — even in the 21st century! — that they can’t even get out of bed. It’s said to impact businesses and airlines as friggatriskaidekaphobes and triskaidekaphobes are afraid to leave the snuggly cocoon of their doonas for the day, opting to chuck sickies and cancel flights. Others have to pull up their big-boy pants and nervously muster through the day, despite the fact that there’s a noticeable drop in the sale of houses and stock trading.
So widely accepted is the terror of the day that one scientific name wasn’t enough. Friggatriskaidekaphobes, triskaidekaphobes and paraskevidekatriaphobes are all afraid of Friday the 13th… Seriously, we’re not making this stuff up! If you’re a Friday-the-13th-a-phobe, we’ve got more bad news: 2020 has two Friday the 13ths (th-ss-ths?)! Just be grateful it’s not 1984 — there were three — which could explain the runaway success of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.
Who could forget little Jason Voorhees, the unfortunate (and fictitious) boy who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake due to negligence of the camp staff, which lead to the Friday the 13th movie franchise? Slashing its way into popular culture and teenage nightmares for over 30 years, the horror film series generated hundreds of millions of dollars — one of the highest grossing horror movie franchises in history — capitalising on the public’s friggatriskaidekaphobia. It also solidified the collective fear of Friday the 13th in Western culture and transformed the innocuous hockey mask into a symbol of terror for all eternity.
But is Friday the 13th really an unlucky day? Some say it’s the opposite. The Ancient Egyptians thought the number 13 to be fortuitous and the Sheikh religion believes 13 to be divinely lucky. And no one ever ran screaming from a ‘baker’s dozen’ (13) of doughnuts! Plus, the number 13 is associated with the lifecycle of nature as there are 13 full moons and 13 menstrual cycles in a year — the ultimate symbol of fertility. Truly, that’s the opposite of bad luck; it’s the very essence of life and love itself. Add to that our love of Fri-YAY! and you’ve got to wonder if we’ve actually had it backwards all along.
If you leave the house on Friday the 13th, will a sinkhole open up on the footpath? Will an asteroid hit your car on the freeway? Will your boss tell you off for wearing Birkenstocks in the office? Probably not. But why risk it when you could stay home and shop online instead 😉
If you’re still feeling nervous, don’t miss our guide to feng shui to learn how to flush out the bad feels in your home.