Friday the 13th -- the day some people who are superstitious do not look forward to. Every year has at least one Friday the 13th. We can have as many as three in a year or as few as this year -- just one -- Friday, August 13th. (Friday the 13th happens in any month that begins on a Sunday.)

If you fear Friday the 13th, you have either paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia. Two phobias that scare me just trying to pronounce them. Experts say these phobias affect millions of people and estimate that businesses, especially airlines, suffer from severe losses on Friday the 13th.

Then there is also the fear of the number 13. That phobia is called triskaidekaphobia and is even more widespread. Many buildings, hotels, and hospitals skip the 13th floor, and many airports do not have gates numbered 13.

Why is the number 13th considered to be so unlucky?

No one really has a good answer to that question. Some point to a biblical explanation. There were 13 guests who attended the Last Supper, held on Maundy Thursday, including Jesus and his 12 apostles. That made for the superstition that having 13 guests at a table was a bad omen.

There are also historical events making Friday an unlucky day. Jesus was crucified on a Friday and it was said to be a Friday when Eve gave Adam the apple from the Tree of Knowledge.

The bigger question is how did the two get combined to become such a symbol of bad luck. No one really knows.

Over the years there has been a book and a series of movies about Friday the 13th. In 1907, Thomas William Lawson's novel "Friday, the Thirteenth" was published. It told the story of a New York City stockbroker who played on superstitions about the date to create chaos on Wall Street and eventually making a killing on the market.

And then there were the "Friday the 13th" movies -- the first released in 1980. In the first movie, we were introduced to Jason -- the killer who wore a hockey mask. There were several sequels, along with comic books, related merchandise, video games, and of course we all know someone who has gone as Jason at Halloween.

One Friday that 13th that could have been bad...

Friday, April 13th, 2029, is when asteroid 99942 Apophis (discovered in 2004) was thought to have a small chance of colliding with Earth. Scientists have since revised their data which shows that there is absolutely no risk of the asteroid impacting the Earth or the Moon. Whew!

I never fear Friday the 13th. Instead, I'm just glad the week is almost over and I can start my weekend. That is how I look at Fridays every week throughout the year! Friday the 13th is no different.

If you are superstitious about Friday the 13th, you will be happy to know that next year, 2022, also only has just one Friday the 13th -- in May.

 

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