If you are one of the estimated 21 million Americans suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th), here’s a tidbit that might be disturbing. A British study from 1993 determined that at least in terms of car accidents, there may be something to the fear. Even though fewer people drove on Friday the 13th, there were significantly more people admitted to hospitals with injuries from auto accidents.
For whatever reason, fear of the number 13 is widespread. But it was not always so. In fact, there is good evidence that the same people who brought you fear of hell, ownership of women, and witch burnings also gave you the Friday the 13th myth as well.
There are 13 cycles of 28 days — lunar cycles — in a year. And if you didn’t know, the lunar cycle was ancient society’s way of keeping time. The same cultures that observed the lunar cycle may well have worshipped goddesses. This is not surprising, considering the fact that life comes from women, and women menstruate in time with the lunar cycle. (Both cycles are actually 29.5 days, but 13×28 worked well enough for the ancients.) To these cultures — and indeed to many ancient cultures — thirteen was a lucky omen. For example, the Egyptians believed there were 13 phases to life: Twelve on this earth, and then the thirteenth, which was the glorious and triumphant transformation to the next life.
- Are there really more accidents on Friday the 13th? (slate.com)
- Friday the 13th – Good luck or bad luck? (cebuanawithlove.wordpress.com)
- “The dreaded Friday the 13th” (atcservices.wordpress.com)