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.