Beware, Friday the 13th is here

By Nicole Osuch
October 13, 2006

Today many people with paraskevidekatriaphobia, or the fear of Friday the 13th, may be carefully watching their every step. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is a spin off of the phobia triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13. Many superstitions exist around the number 13 and the sixth day of the week, Friday, especially when it’s Friday the 13th.

Anthony Sessa, a sophomore business administration major, said, “I have been superstitious about Friday the 13th ever since my uncle died on that day when I was younger. I actually canceled my dentist appointment that I had that day. According to the receptionist, I was the only appointment on Friday the 13th. I was afraid that something bad would happen, like I would find out I would need to have a big procedure like a root canal done.”

Everyone has heard of people who will not get married, go on a trip, start a new job, buy a home or even leave the safety of their home when Friday the 13th creeps around a few times a year because they believe that they are destined to have bad luck. In many cases, buildings skip the 13th floor, airplanes avoid the 13th aisle and people avoid purchasing homes with the house number 13. All these superstitions have arisen around the day, but few people know where the superstitions originated.

Christians believe that Friday has always been an unlucky day in history, dating all the way back to Adam and Eve. They reflect that on Friday, Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit which resulted in Adam and Eve being exiled from the Garden of Eden. In addition, it is recorded that at the Last Supper there were 13 people in attendance, 12 disciples plus Jesus. Records show that Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th person to turn up at the Last Supper. Christians believe the superstition of the day also stems from the fact that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, the day Romans held executions.

Even though many people do not give into the idea that Friday the 13th is unlucky completely, many do not test their luck on that day. Especially, when making substantial life decisions. A Weichert Realtor in Cherry Hill, N.J., said that she knew of few closings that were occurring today.

She said, “Clients do not say that is why they do not want to close the deal, but there are always jokes about it. However, I am not really a big believer in it being a day of bad fortune. In fact, I have personally purchased a home on Friday the 13th.”

Kate Concannon, a sophomore at St. Joseph’s University, said, “I think Friday the 13th is hyped up so much. I actually feel like they tend to be better days out of the year. Nothing bad usually happens. If I saw a black cat on Friday the 13th I would go over and pet it. I love cats!”

For those who feel that Friday the 13th is not unlucky and people that are superstitious are just self- fulfilling a prophecy should consider the story of the British government. The British government tried to end people’s superstitions that setting sail across the sea on Friday was unlucky. The more than 100-year-old story goes that the government named the ship the “H.M.S. Friday,” set sail on Friday, chose the ship’s crew on Friday, and even hired a captain named Jim Friday. The ship and its crew were mysteriously never seen or heard from again.

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Nicole Osuch

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