10 August 2010

Phobias relating to the fear of the number 13 and to Friday the 13th

Having written about superstition in an earlier posting, I am back on the subject this time to examine why the number 13 is considered to be an unlucky number.  Interestingly enough, there is even a phobia for the irrational  fear of the number 13 called "triskaidekaphobia". 

You may have noticed for example that some sky scrapers have resorted to skipping the thirteenth floor.  Does it not seem illogical and far fetched when even civil engineers and construction workers exacerbate this unfounded fear?  Likewise, people tend to be vary of the thirteenth of a month particularly when it falls on a Friday.  Friday the 13th is said to be decidedly inauspicious.  There are even specific phobias for the fear of Friday the 13th called "Paraskevidekatriaphobia" and "Friggatriskaidekaphobia".  (The months of the year which have a Friday the 13th always begin on a Sunday).

I have carried out some basic research on the internet and it turns out that there are several possible explanations for this fear.  In Christianity, there were thirteen people present at the Last Supper.  Here, the number thirteen is seen as a foreboding omen. 

The number is also considered unlucky by some as it is the sum of 1-4-5-3, the year of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, marking the end of the Byzantine Empire, though it may be considered lucky by Turks on the same basis.

Whatever your convictions and beliefs I hope this coming Friday, the 13th August will be a lucky day for you.  More information can be obtained from the following websites and

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