I hate Friday the 13th and all things superstitious, but why?

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The unluckiest day of the year, Friday the 13th, has hit our calendars once again.

Andy Jackson

The unluckiest day of the year, Friday the 13th, has hit our calendars once again.

About Friday
Friday is the day of the week between Thursday and Saturday. In countries adopting the “Monday-first” convention it is the fifth day of the week. In countries that adopt the “Sunday-first” convention, it is the sixth and penultimate day of the week. In some other countries, for example the Maldives, Friday is the first day of the weekend, with Saturday the second. In Iran Friday is the last day of the weekend, with Saturday as the first day of the working week. Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Kuwait also followed this convention until they changed to a Friday–Saturday weekend: on 1 September 2006 in Bahrain and the UAE, and a year later in Kuwait. In Iran, Friday and Thursday are weekend days.

I hate Friday the 13th and all things superstitious, but why?

About things
Things or The Things may refer to:

Although I am superstitious and would never walk under a ladder, open an umbrella inside and never fail to internally cringe when a black cat walks past, I realise my fear of Friday the 13th is not logical.

But for some reason when the day rolls around I am fearful something bad might happen to me and am extra cautious about what I do throughout the day to avoid anything unlucky.

I hate Friday the 13th and all things superstitious, but why?

Avoid black cats at all costs today.

DAVID UNWIN / FAIRFAX NZ.

Avoid black cats at all costs today.

And it turns out I’m not alone. The day is a nightmare for so many people across the world that the fear of it has its own name. 

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the panic and fear associated with the date, coming from the fear of the number 13, which is triskaidekaphobia.

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People who suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia avoid leaving the house on Friday 13th but can also suffer a range of symptoms including hyperventilating, rapid heart beat, dizziness, panicking and even suicidal thoughts.

But there is still no concrete reason as to why people need to fear the date or where it has originated from.

Some believe it came from biblical times as Jesus died on a Friday and 13th people were at the Last Supper the night before and Judas, who betrayed Jesus ultimately causing his death, was the 13th person to sit down at the table. 

Another common theory was members of the Knights Templar, a medieval society, were arrested by King Philip IV of France on Friday the 13th in 1307 and they were tortured and burned alive. 

After King Philip died in 1314 many feared Friday the 13th as the day God would get vengeance for the killing of the Templars.

Witchcraft has also been a suggested origin of fear after Norse mythology states Frigga, the goddess of love and fertility, was labelled a witch and banished to a mountaintop where she supposedly practised witchcraft every Friday with eleven other witches and the devil to plan terrible things. 

Since a coven is made up of 13 witches and they meet on Fridays it has long been associated with the day, but who could be scared of witches when the three witches from Hocus Pocus and Sabrina the Teenager Witch are the coolest witches in town?  

But it seems us Kiwis have nothing to worry about when it comes to one of the most feared dates on the calender as there has been a lot less accidents of Friday the 13th compared to other Fridays. 

In 2017 Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) said the Friday the 13th in October of that year was a safer day when compared to the following Friday by nearly 900 claims, but there were eight injury claims caused by cats and 23 injuries resulting from ladder accidents. 

Psychologist Dr Kirsty Ross said coincidences of bad things happening on Friday the 13th may cause nervousness and anxiety for people.

“So, if by chance something happened to someone (or someone they knew) on Friday the 13th, that will stick in their memory more than the umpteen other times that the day went past without anything unusual happening,” she said. 

She said trying to hide away and avoid the day is not helpful but breaking the negative connection you have with the day by planning something nice may also help with the fear. 

“Reminding yourself of all the Friday the 13ths where nothing unusual happened also helps,” she said.

And although this news and ideas are great I still can’t shake my superstitions. This year coincidentally is the first time in 13 years a harvest full moon has graced the skies on the same night as Friday the 13th. 

So let’s hope we get through this crazy one unscathed, before the unluckiest date in the diary graces our calendars again in December.

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