Paraskevidekatriaphobia (Fear of Friday the Thirteenth)

Friday, April 13th, ©2012 Marcus Brooks

When I first posted this, I set it up to repost on this more timely date. It’s a thing I put together for a Spanish class years ago, when I learned Spanish speakers who fear a weekday tend to fear Tuesday, not Friday. At this article’s first posting I intended to expand it some before now; but if I did, I forgot to edit this sentence!

Theories about Friday the Thirteenth abound. These are just a few.

Fear of the Number Thirteen (Among Christians in General)

I get the impression that 13 has been a special number (one way or the other) almost as long as humans could count that high. Some of the following may be residue of events long forgotten. For example, notice how the thirteenth guest story keeps turning up.

  • Thirteen is sacred in some pre-Christian cultures; 13 months in the Pagan lunar calendar; 13 menstrual cycles significant to goddess cults. All such things have been vilified by insecure male Christians.
  • An ideal witch coven is said to be 12, which is joined by the goddess Frigg or the devil (pick one) to make 13.
  • The Norse hero Baldur was killed at a party by gate-crashing deity Loki, the 13th to arrive.
  • Thirteen were present at the Last Supper (Judas arrived last, i.e., 13th).
  • The Beast and the Antichrist arrive in Chapter 13 of Revelations.

Fear of Friday (Among English Christians):

  • Friday (Germanic Freya’s day), like the number 13, is associated with Pagan moon and fertility goddesses . Some Pagans think Friday is lucky, and Friday the 13th especially so. The English Christian fear of Friday may be a reaction to that. (This is my favorite theory.)
  • Many believe (without good reason) that Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

Derivative, Reinforcing, or Just Plain Dubious Facts

  • On a Friday the 13th in 1306, the Knights Templar were arrested and their torture begun.
  • Friday is a traditional hanging day in Britain.
  • Tradition supposedly dictates 13 steps to gallows, 13 passes in hangman’s knot.
  • The thirteenth card in Tarot is Death
  • The Apollo 13 “problem” began on April 13 (not a Friday).
  • Adam and Eve slipped up on a Friday (theoretically).
  • The Great Flood began on a Friday (theoretically).
  • The confounding of Babel occurred on Tuesday the 13th (theoretically)

Sources: (extinct link) (extinct link)

One Response to “Paraskevidekatriaphobia (Fear of Friday the Thirteenth)”

  1. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and
    tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

    [Marcus: I’m approving this because it makes an effort beyond that of routine spam, and I like the link, although if Kaspar Hauser was “observed reading from the Bible in a totally darkened room” in the 1830’s, the claim he was reading is about as credible as the claim he was observed.]

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