The beginnings of Friday the 13th

May 12, 2005, midnight | By Danielle Foster | 18 years, 11 months ago

Fear without foundation

If 13 people sit down to dinner together, all of them will die in a year. Some buildings do not have a thirteenth floor, and Thirteenth Avenue is often missing from city maps. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have horrible luck. Want proof? Think: Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Albert De Salvo and Jeffrey Dahmer. Around the world, people take extra precautions as Friday the 13th approaches. This year, the infamous date occurs tomorrow, Friday, May 13.

Although most people are not aware of the origins of the notorious day and number of doom, the morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th actually has a name: paraskevidekatriaphobia. Though the fear has a recognized name, the history is more questionable. Anxiousness on Friday the 13th emanates from several traditions, primarily Christian theology and Viking tradition, which combine separate fears of Friday and the number 13.

During the Last Supper, there were 13 people in attendance, one of whom was Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus. The fear of Fridays can also be traced to the day Jesus was killed, which occurred on a Friday.

Norse tradition provides an explanation for the fear of the number 13 as well. According to legend, 12 gods were invited to a banquet. The evil god of mischief, Loki, was not invited but came to the party anyway, bringing the number in attendance to 13. Loki invoked disaster upon the group, resulting in the death of the god of goodness, Balder. The Norse, therefore, concluded that the number 13 was bad luck.

Many in fear of Friday the 13th today are unaware of the religious history behind the day. Senior Suzanne Adjogah has been superstitious since she was five years old. Her fears of Friday the 13th began when she was in elementary school. "My class was supposed to go on a field trip, but the bus never came, and it was raining," Adjogah says. The unfortunate events occurred on Friday the 13th, and she has been apprehensive ever since. "No matter what you do to prevent it, Friday the 13th is full of bad luck," she says with conviction.

Every Friday that happens to be the thirteenth of the month worries Adjogah. "I'll be really nervous and always suspicious of what could happen. So if I see something that could go wrong, I won't be caught off guard by the horrible evil that will befall me," she says.

Senior Seun Fatusin sees no reason to fear any day of year, though she is very familiar with the idea of being superstitious. "In my country, there are many superstitions," Fatusin says. With regards to Friday the 13th, however, "I don't even know much about that day. I don't see anything different; it's just another day," adds Fatusin. "I think there is not really anything to be superstitious of."

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Danielle Foster. Danielle is a senior and all she can say is "it's about time". Now 17, driving, and close to completing the Communication Arts Program, she is ready to graduate on June second. This is her last year at Blair though, and she plans to make … More »

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