Beware! Friday the 13th – Day of Doom… or just another day?

Why do we dread Friday 13th? (photo: Adobe)
Why do we dread Friday 13th? (photo: Adobe)

Does Friday, 13th fill you with dread?

May 13th the only date in 2022 when it falls on Friday (photo: Adobe)

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With Friday the 13th just around the corner, the superstition savants behind educational mobile card trading card game www.cardstheuniverseandeverything.com have revealed the origin behind one of Western culture’s most notorious superstitions, so that your readers can draw their own conclusions on whether it really is a day of doom or just another day.

The research explores the rare condition of paraskevidekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th, and reveals some truly shocking facts and statistics surrounding the day, such as a study published by the British Medical Journal recommending that UK residents stay at home on Friday the 13th due to an increased risk of hospitalisation.

This begs the question, what exactly is paraskevidekatriaphobia and why are people afraid of Friday the 13th?

Black cats crossing your path, doom and gloom - it can only be Friday 13th (photo: Adobe)

The superstition savants behind the educational mobile trading card game www.cardstheuniverseandeverything.com have put together a crash course guide to the spookiest day(s) of the year so that you can decide for yourself if Friday the 13th really is a day of doom.

What’s the origin of Friday the 13th?

The origin of number 13’s unlucky nature can be linked back to Norse mythology. According to one myth, 12 gods had a dinner party in Valhalla when the trickster god, Loki (the inspiration behind Tom Hiddleston’s character in the Marvel cinematic universe) arrived as an uninvited 13th guest. Upon arrival, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.

After the death of Balder, folklore historian Donald Dossey notes that the entire Earth was shrouded in darkness due to mourning and 13 was permanently associated with bad luck. If the myth sounds vaguely familiar, the Last Supper might be on your mind. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper – the final meal that Jesus shared with his apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion.

When does Friday the 13th happen?

The 13th day of the month falls on a Friday at least once per year, but can also occur up to three times per year. In 2022, it only happens once: May 13th. If you want to mark your calendar, it’ll next fall on January 13 and October 13 in 2023. Fear not, though, as Friday the 13th isn’t slated to occur three times in a single year until 2026.

What’s the impact of Friday the 13th?

A study by the British Medical Journal in 1993 found that Friday the 13th is truly unlucky for some. Yes, the published findings really stated that Friday the 13th is unlucky! By examining the relation between health, behaviour and superstition surrounding Friday the 13th in the United Kingdom, the study found that the risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident increased by as much as 52 per cent compared with Friday the 6th. The British Medical Journal even went as far as to recommend staying at home on Friday the 13th due to the increased risk of hospitalisation*.

What can people afraid of Friday the 13th do?

If you feel spooked, you might suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia. Yes, it’s a word, and yes, it’s the fear of Friday the 13th. Symptoms of paraskevidekatriaphobia can range from mild anxiety to full-blown panic attack and it can also be an extension of triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13. Richard Wiseman, professor at the University of Hertfordshire, opined that people who consider themselves unlucky are more likely to believe in related superstitions (like Friday the 13th) and that luck is a magical force which can ruin lives**.

How can people overcome paraskevidekatriaphobia?

While paraskevidekatriaphobia is an incredibly niche phobia, almost all phobias can be successfully treated and cured. Cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure therapy and psychotherapy are among the leading treatments for most phobias and a mental health professional can advise you on the best course of action.

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