Thursday, August 12, 2010

Friday 13th, anyone?










Quick -
repeat after me paraskevidekatriaphobia. This is the learned name for fear of Friday 13th. It doesn't trip off the tongue quite as lightly as triskaidekaphobia, which means fear of the number 13. The longer tongue-twister is derived from the Greek words for "Friday" (Παρασκευή), "thirteen" (δεκατρείς), and "fear" (φοβία, from φόβος). But don't blame the ancient Greeks, The term was made up just a century ago, when scientists and psychologists still knew Greek and Latin.

If you're nervous about Friday 13th, here's my suggested remedy. Try to memorize and repeat 13 times (without looking) the word paraskevidekatriaphobia. By the time you get this right, Friday 13th will be over.

Friday 13th has generally been a lucky day for me, but then I'm a contrarian. As a student of practical superstitions, I'd be interested in your experiences of Friday 13th, in the past and on the morrow.

20 comments:

Justin Patrick Moore said...

My good friend's Dad always has a party on Friday the 13th. It's an open invitation. If a Friday the 13rolls around you always no where to go for good company and a nice fire. I've seen no hockey masked killers there.

Robert Moss said...

A nice fire? In this sweltering summer heat? That would undermine my pleasure in Friday 13th!

Nancy said...

When I was learning the tarot in your Tarot for Dreamers class several years back, my first goal was to memorize the trumps. I had no problem remembering that Death is the 13th trump, since much of this culture sees Death as the pinnacle of bad luck, which they've also associated with the number 13. (Buildings used to be built with no 13th floor to avoid the bad luck.) This supposedly doubly unlucky day always prompts me to review the "unlucky" events in my past which turned out for the best. Luck is in the eye of the beholder!

Worldbridger said...

I seem to remember reading something about the Templars and a coordinated attack on their leaders that took place on Friday the 13th (and in the 1300s).

Urban legend or truth?

Justin Patrick Moore said...

... the last time I was there it wasn't sweltering! But I get your drift...

Patricia said...

A nice fire? Well, that depends where you happen to be. I'll be hosting my Creative Writing Group tonight and we will be having a nice fire and a slow cooked yummy meal. So, I'll be thinking of you getting cool and I'll be cosy and warm.
As for me, the day is just another day. I believe that in some places the sale of lottery tickets increase, so it could be for good luck as well.
I'll be having some fun anyway.

Robert Moss said...

Yes Worldbridger, Friday 13th was not a lucky day for the Templars. On Friday, October 13, 1307, Philip IV of France ordered the arrests of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templars and his top men and launched the mass executions.

Robert Moss said...

Nancy - Yes XIII is the number of Death in the major arcana. As we have often discussed, in Tarot Death is often about transformation (which required death and rebirth) rather than literal death.

Carol Davis said...

When I was a little girl I wondered if things had to be the way everybody said they should be.

"Does Friday the 13th have to be unlucky? What if I start thinking about it as a good day?" I wondered.

I decided to try it. And on the very first Friday the 13th that I deliberately opened myself to good luck, I went with my mom to the market. I turned the penny candy machine handle without putting in any money and a bunch of candy came out.

"Ah ha!" I smiled. "So it can be a lucky day!"

I considered that I had found a great secret.

Robert Moss said...

Carol - You did indeed discover a great secret, that the world can be a giving candy machine when we find the courage to break with consensual hallucinations about reality.

Grace Looney said...

As mentioned elsewhere...I'm going to be following my nose where ever it leads on Friday the 13th... I intend to have a grand day and not worry about it.

Carol - I too hit the jackpot of the candy machines a few times as a child and I now preload the big gumball machines with quarters when I think about it...to pass on the utter joy of an unexpected treat! Can't recall that any of my candy machine delights hit on a Friday the 13th or not... But what a fun association...

I'll definitely go preload some candy machines in my wandering tomorrow!

Alice Finnamore said...

When I was a kid, I read a book titled Thirteen is Lucky. I'm pretty sure I got the book from the Bookmobile when it came by my one room school. (Makes me sound old, I know.) The plot was about a girl who managed to discover an elevator that opened to the 13th floor. No one else believed there was such a floor, but it was there, and it was magical.

Robert Moss said...

Wherever the phobia about Friday 13th still has currency, it doesn't seem to have any appeal for dreamers. Over at my FB page, we've had more than 30 dreamers (and counting) tell us why they consider Friday 13th lucky rather than unlucky, with not a dissenting voice so far. Let's put it to the test THIS Friday 13th, and see what the day brings.

Seashore said...

Okay...I'm the 13th post...so...the heat is on!
Do I feel lucky?
Yes - In the name of Clint Eastwood I do.
Do I feel lucky? Absolutely.
Friday the 13th to me is a magical day...
I belive it is how you look at it! Margie

Worldbridger said...

That's why I changed to the 13 Moon calendar ... nothing like a fresh start to bury the bogeyman.

Robert Moss said...

Margie - You were actually the 14th post on this thread; I got the 13th slot just ahead of you :-) Let us know what your Friday 13th brings (and also the 14th?)

Don said...

I do not associate numbers with luck. But some people do. If you have read the biography of Geronimo you saw how very much he revered the number 4. It worked well for him, too. Gamblers rolling dice favor 7 and 11. I think it is their faith that brings them the good luck they expect, and their fear that brings them bad luck when it comes out that way.
The number 13 is sometimes refered to as a baker's dozen. If a baker wants to offer me a baker's dozen in place of 12, I will accept it.
Today, Friday the 13th, was a wonderful day for me. I was out in the woods and it was beautiful.

suzi-q-song said...

One very interesting thing happened today. As I was leaving the checkout at a local grocery store, I struck up a conversation with the checkout girl about how I was enjoying some of the online conversation about it. She instantly piped up with, "My mother was born on Friday the 13th." Then the checkout girl to the left of us immediately turned and said, "My mother was also born on Friday the 13th. Today, actually." Now, what are the odds of that happening?
Suzanne Whittingham

Mariposa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mariposa said...

Mariposa said...
Think about 13 moons in a year - a good thing! Indigenous people of the Andes consider the number 13 to be fortuitous. The same is true among other cultures. So, this aversion to 13 is not universal to human beings. And..... I have heard it said the creation of this "bad luck" association with the number 13 was something created by early Christians trying to distance themselves from pagan traditions and beliefs.