Friday, April 13, 2012

Paraskevidekatriaphobia




Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! Because I am a born contrarian, I love this day - precisely because so many people are so afraid of it. I do prefer a different term for the "fear of Friday the 13th": friggatriskaidekaphobia; this is because it has the word "frigga" in it and also because I am 12 years old.

The etymology of the two "technical" terms (according to Wikipedia):

friggatriskaidekaphobia where Frigga is the name of the Norse goddess for whom "Friday" is named and triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number thirteen;

paraskevidekatriaphobia a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning "Friday"), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning "thirteen") attached to phobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning "fear").

In either case the important part of the word is the suffix, "phobia", which in English has come to mean irrational fear.

From the website "urbanlegends.about.com":

The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times. It seems their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year (there will be three such occurrences in 2012, exactly 13 weeks apart) portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear. According to some sources it's the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date.

There is a lot more interesting information on that website about the possible origins of the fear of Friday the 13th. Whatever the reasons, it does appear to be one of the biggest - if not the biggest - phobias in the USA today.

Weirdly, although I don't live in the USA, I don't know whether a single one of my friends suffers from friggatriskaidekaphobia (I made myself giggle there, again). It certainly never comes up in conversation so if any of them do it seems to be more of a tacit fear. A few years ago I had to fly to Edmonton to do a trade show on my own for the very first time and I actually felt better when I discovered my flight there was on Friday, February 13. In fact, the only bad luck I suffered was that my plane actually did make it to Edmonton.

Relax, it's a joke. But seriously, have you ever been to Edmonton in February? It was freakishly cold - although it was a dry cold, not like Toronto. It was compounded, however, by the fact that we had extremely recently been in the Dominican Republic. There was a 30 degree (Celsius) swing from Punta Cana to Toronto; there was another 35 degree swing from Toronto to Edmonton. That was a little rough. And completely irrelevant to this post. Sorry.

So how about you? Are you afraid of Friday the 13th? Are you afraid of the number 13 in general? Any stories to share about something eerie to back up your fear? (Yes, I'm brazenly pandering to you for comments on this blog. What of it?)

Whether you suffer from...snicker....or not, it's probably best to stay away from old, abandoned summer camps today. You know, just to be on the safe side.


Good luck!

8 comments:

  1. In my opinion, this is the best time TO head to a camp ground/beach/cabin/whatever. But that's only to see whiny teenagers get beheaded.

    Good times.

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    1. And Kevin Bacon! If memory serves, he may be the first one to go? I saw it so long ago...it came to the Uptown while I was an usher there. :)

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  2. I think you convinced me back in '97 or so that it was ridiculous to be afraid of a number or a day (altho birthdays scare me more each year). So I brazenly put a "13" in my email address, and I even use the number for things like voice mail passwords and such. So, anyone who is afraid of it, just needs to face their fear. Kinda like tornado chasing...which is still on my bucket list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup! Just like that. Or climbing an active volcano - on MY bucket list. ;)

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  3. Here is another fun article about Friday the 13th, specifically this year's.

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    1. Cool stuff! I knew about the 3 Friday the 13ths being 13 weeks apart this year, but this was news to me:

      9. For pagans, 13 is actually a lucky number. It corresponds with the number of full moons in a year.

      So I guess that explains why *I* like it. ;)

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  4. I like Friday the 13th! When I was in grade two, I got in trouble for running in the halls on a Friday the 13th. A very scary grade 2 teacher (God knows why she worked with kids; she clearly hated them!) yelled at the group of us and told us to meet her after school for some sort of punishment. I was terrified, as I rarely got into trouble at school. But when we showed up at 3:30, the teacher wasn't there! After waiting a suitable amount of time, we all left and never heard any more about it. Since then I've figured 13 is pretty lucky! No fear of 13 here. I think it's all ridiculous. :) ANd really, do people on the 14th floor TRULY think they're not living on the 13th, just because there's no elevator button for 13??

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    1. Sadly, I think they really do think they're living on the 14th floor. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. Someday I hope to find a building that lists the 13th floor and specifically live there. Hopefully they have an apartment 1313, too. I would probably have it set up that spooky music plays whenever my front door was opened!

      Maybe that teacher was a ghost....? ;)

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I've kept my comments open and moderation-free for many years, but I've been forced to now review them before they post due to the actions of one member of my family. I apologize for having to take this stance, but that's the way the world is headed, sad to say. Thank you for your understanding.

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