May 13, 2011

Triskaidekaphobia a.k.a. Paraskevicekatriaphobia or Friggatriskaidekaphobia






Today is 2011’s only, lonely, Friday the 13th, a day perceived as bad luck in English, German, Polish and Portuguese-speaking cultures around the globe.*

Millions of Americans suffer from what some consider one of the most pervasive phobias—a fear of Friday the 13th, of friggatriskaidekaphobia…Do you avoid travel, business or other activities because of the fear of bad luck on Friday the 13th?*****


     It isn’t the day that is to be feared, but the number: thirteen: triskaidekaphobia,** a derived from the Greek language:

  • tris meaning three
  • kai meaning and
  • deka meaning ten
  • phobia meaning fear, or morbid fear****

     Friday the thirteenth is a specialized form of triskaidekaphobia:* paraskevicekatriaphobia, a word also derived from the Greek:

  • Παρασκευή—Friday
  • Δεκατρε—thirteen
  • Φοβία—phobia

       Paraskevicekatriaphobia is also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia.


     Fear of day thirteen occurs on different weekdays in other cultures. In Greece and Spain, the unlucky number day is Tuesday the thirteenth. In Russia it’s Monday the thirteenth:*

There are numerous explanations of why the fear of the number thirteen developed:

  • The Vikings believed that Loki, the thirteenth God, engineered the murder of Balder, and was the thirteenth guest to arrive at the funeral. This is perhaps related to the superstition that if 13 people gather, one of them will die in the following year.
  • Ancient Persians believed the twelve Zodiac constellations controlled the months of the year, and each ruled the earth for a thousand years at the end of which the sky and earth collapsed in chaos. Therefore, the number is identified with chaos. The Persians leave their houses to avoid bad luck on the thirteenth day of the Persian Calendar, a tradition called Sizdah Bedar.
  • It was Friday 13, October 1307, when the Knights Templar were ordered to be arrested by Philip IV of France. The theory has been suggested, in the book Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry by John J. Robinson, that the Templars went underground among masons in England and later developed into Freemasons. Because most of the founding fathers of the United States of America were Freemasons, it is possible the memory of the terror of that day is preserved in the Friday the 13th.****

     For those persons who want reasons to increase their phobias, two other numbers are also to be feared:

  • Tetraphobia—the fear of number four—exists in many East-Asian and some Southeast-Asian countries, including Korea, China and Japan. This originates from the Chinese, whose pronunciation of the word four is similar to the word death.
  • Seventeen is considered unlucky in Italy: the Roman digit for seventeen is XVII, letters that can be transposed to VIXI—which, in Latin, means I have lived, but can be a euphemism for I am dead.****  


     You can relax your fears today…an expert at cornell University’s Stress Management Center and Phobia Insititute says there is no evidence or validity to superstitions and bad luck surrounding Friday the 13th.*****


*  (COMMENT BY jojo)




*****Thursday’s question in the Greensburg Tribune-Review, May 13, 2011, pp A10 (readers call in to vote yes or no)



May celebrations: Part II

BRAMBLES (Brief Rambles) 2:2008 May 5—Temporary Art, Bull-Headedness?-Arachnophobia

From the Bastille to Cinderella

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