Happy Friday the 13th! Fact or Fallacy?

Today is the dreaded “Friday the 13th!” Ooooh, scary!

Or perhaps it is not, depending on your individual outlook and experience with the date. But for many, and not to make light, the phobia is very real.

So many folks have such an innate fear of the number “13” that it has been given a scientific name — “triskaidekaphobia”.

Many people supposedly also have a traditional fear of Fridays regardless of the date, TGIF notwithstanding. Coupling them together, a Friday falling on the 13th of the month can be doubly stressing. And it happens once, twice, or up to three times every year.

The term applied to anyone so afflicted, fearing “Friday the 13th”, is “friggatriskaidekaphobia”, from ‘Frigga’, the name of the Norse goddess for whom Friday is named, and ‘triskaidekaphobia’, the aforementioned fear of the number thirteen.

It is also known as “paraskevidekatriaphobia”, from the Greek ‘Paraskevi’ for Friday, ‘dekatreis’ for thirteen and ‘phobia’ for fear. Try saying that three times fast at a Friday afternoon happy hour without having to reglue your dentures.

Being distracted trying to remember and pronounce either one may well cause someone to lose focus and walk under a ladder, step into a hole, or choke on a chicken wing without any other supernatural influence involved whatsoever.

There are a number of explanations of how it all got started, but an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the U.S. are so affected and paralyzed by their fear of Friday the 13th that they reschedule air flights and travel, alter business and household routines, and go to great lengths to protect themselves from bad luck and occurrences. Reportedly, some never get out of bed on the day. Anyone having a phobia about Friday the 13th is certainly not alone.

In some countries, accidents, in general, actually do increase on Friday the 13th. To promote awareness and safety, Finland celebrates National Accident Day each year, always on a Friday the 13th. In some areas of the world, the number of traffic accidents reported  increases on a Friday the 13th, while in other countries accidents decrease with people being extra cautious on the day. Either way, it does seem to have an effect.

“I’m not nearly as afraid of Friday the 13th, as I am of the people who are afraid of Friday the 13th.” — Unknown

Black cats have suffered from superstitions and unfounded beliefs surrounding the day, unfortunately causing many prospective owners to pass them by at adoption and rescue shelters over the years.  So if you or someone you know is thinking about adopting a cat or kitten, please do not pass by the black cats. They are wonderful loving companions deserving of good forever homes, too!

Personally, since I was born on a Friday and the first letter of my last name “M” is the 13th letter of the alphabet, I have always considered it a “lucky” day. No one can call me irrational.

Although, I do recall living in Winter Park, Florida on Friday the 13th of August, 2004, when Hurricane Charley visited and left us without power for many days and removed part of the back wall. And a related tornado snapped a palm tree in half about fifty feet off my back patio that night. Would that count as a Friday the 13th thing? On the other hand, we all came thru it without a scratch, so should we then consider ourselves ‘lucky’? Or was it all simply mere coincidence?

What kind of an event is Friday the 13th for you? Do you have (hopefully not) unfortunate accident stories to share? Malevolent, ill-tempered or unlucky ladders encountered, perhaps?  Examples of serendipitous good fortune or happiness?  Maybe it all is a matter of personal experience and outlook, after all.

Whatever your views on the day, Little Red Bear and I wish you a wonderful, safe, and happy Friday the 13th!

But — a precautionary note — Please exercise a little extra caution and care if headed out and about. It is Friday the 13th, after all. — Jim (and Red!)

      “I had only one superstition. I made sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run.”      — Babe Ruth”

“Superstition is the poetry of life.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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                                          “Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive, and irrational.                                             But how much does it cost you to knock on wood?” — Judith Viorst 

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6 thoughts on “Happy Friday the 13th! Fact or Fallacy?

  1. This was a fun read thank you James. For me personally it’s just another day, but who knew that there was such a long specific name for the fear of Friday the 13th. I have four cats (I know crazy cat lady!) One of which is an adorable black Bombay, whom I love. Her name is onyx and she is just the sweetest crybaby in the whole world! Anyone thinking of adopting a cat please consider a black one, they are so sweet, and it’s only a color.


  2. Who knew there was such a complicated name for fear of Friday the 13th. Absolutely no fear of this superstition – thank goodness – but it was fun reading all the fun facts! And loved the images you used in your blog! Thanks for sharing!


  3. Great post and I am with you with Friday 13th not being as bad as it sounds. I met my husband on Friday 13th… ok is that good or bad ha ha. Seriously though 22 days later and I still class Friday the 13th as a lucky day. Interesting reading the history behind it, did not know some people take it so seriously!


  4. Great article James! I enjoyed your images and the information you had about the “black cats.” We happen to have two of them and they are wonderful! I hope some will not go by the “superstitions” of them, they are just so sweet!
    Be safe if you get the weather they are forecasting! I hear warming temperatures coming next week!

    Thanks again for your article!
    Happy Reading!


  5. ARGHHHH! the dreaded friggatriskaidekaphobia! Tee-hee.

    Love your freaky Friday images, James. Thanks for the smiles.

    I usually try to ignore the fact that it is Friday the 13th. Yet, I don’t stay on the 13th floor of a hotel…if the establishment has one….and I’m figuring out how to re-work my new kid lit tale so it doesn’t end up with 13 chapters.


  6. I thought that Walmart would not be very crowded this evening, Friday, January 13th, but was I ever wrong! Around 9 p.m., the checkout lines were longer than I’d ever seen them. Maybe all the customers had the same idea that I had — that people would stay home and choose another day to go shopping. Wrong, wrong, wrong!


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