Whether you are superstitious or afraid of the No. 13 or not, you are at the very least aware that Friday the 13th might be an interesting day — if not for you, then perhaps for someone within the family, or within your circle of friends or maybe among co-workers.
And that day is today.
Friday the 13th and all that goes with it — black cats, ladders, etc. — still arouses a bit of pesky paranoia, even in the most level-headed of folks. But for those who take the potential problems of the day far more seriously, today is a day they don’t look forward to. It’s a day that will keep them constantly on edge about the possibility of ominous events lurking just around the next corner.
But for some, Friday the 13th is only part of the trouble. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be a Friday — the No. 13 will get some folks’ blood pressure boiling. The medical community loosely calls the fear of the No. 13 “triskaidekaphobia.”
Where did that fear of the No. 13 begin?
It is commonly linked to the early Christians, as the number 13 appears in certain Biblical traditions. For example, there were 13 people present at the Last Supper, Jesus and his 12 Apostles. Some say that betrayer Judas was the 13th to join the table. This may be the origin of the superstition that states that when 13 dine; one will die within the year. However, the number 13 is also presented positively in the Bible. For example, the book of Exodus speaks of the 13 attributes of God.
Additionally, evidence for this phobia can be found in some pre-Christian traditions. For example, in Viking mythology, Loki is believed to be the 13th god. He is also said to have intruded on the Banquet of Valhalla, to which 12 gods were invited. The god Baldr was soon killed accidentally by his brother, using a spear given to him by Loki.
The oldest known reference to the fear of the number 13 can be found in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi, a Babylonian code of law that dates to approximately 1760 BC. The laws are numbered, but number 13 is omitted (along with numbers 66 through 99). Therefore, it is possible that triskaidekaphobia was widespread even among the ancient peoples.
Centuries later, in modern culture, many hotels still omit labeling a 13th floor; many airlines don’t list a 13th row in seating; some towns and cities skip a 13th Street.
Now, back to Friday the 13th, which also has its own fancy name: paraskavedekatriaphobia.
The beginnings of this fear remain unknown, but some say it is connected with the arrest of the Knights Templar on Oct. 13, 1307. A Friday.
There are, however, all sorts of “remedies” for getting through Friday the 13th. A few of those are listed below:
— Drink green tea.
— Eat dark chocolate.
— Take a short nap.
— Find simple little pleasures and scatter them through the day — such as singing in the shower, hugging your children, watch a favorite movie or look at old photos.
— Get one important project done.
— Help someone in need/do a good deed — such as buy a stranger’s meal, open a door for someone, give a random person $5 or take a friend their favorite treat.
— Listen to upbeat music.
— Stay away from social media and all news venues.
— Take a brisk walk.
— Read a good book.
— Plan and leave for a spontaneous weekend getaway.
Of course, there’s also ways to “mess” with people on Friday the 13th. Try sending them 13 of something like cupcakes, donuts, cookies, black roses, emails or whatever you can come up with.
After all, why not just have fun with it?