If you’re alone in the office today, your co-workers could have Paraskavedekatriaphobia -- a fear of Friday the 13th. Or perhaps they went home early, and left you with all the work. But aside from the 1980 classic horror film, what makes this a day of dread for so many?
For one, 13 is a notoriously unlucky number. It has numerous ties to death, Satan, and a number of other unpleasant things. Traditionally there were 13 steps to the gallows, a witches coven has 13 members, and 13 letters in a name used to mean someone was cursed. Some people will do anything they can to avoid the number. That’s why most buildings don’t have a 13th floor. You may have also heard of the superstition that at a dinner table of 13 people -- someone will die. As reported by USA Today, it is also believed Judas Iscariot was the 13th guest at the Last Supper.
According to Refinery29.com, Fridays aren’t well-liked either -- especially in the Bible. Eve ate the apple on a Friday and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. But it’s not just the Bible that cast this as a dastardly day. Chaucer famously wrote in the Canterbury Tales, "And on a Friday fell all this mischance”, and literature later in the 17th century often linked Friday to meager harvests and bad business. And in the Middle Ages Fridays were generally known to be a bad day to start a journey.
However, combining Fridays and the number 13 is more than a collision of two superstitions. Plenty of bad things have happened on this freaky Friday. There have been airline crashes, stock market troubles, and Tupac even died on a Friday the 13th!
But if you’re a skeptic and see it as just another Friday then what are you still doing at work? Tell your boss you have Paraskavedekatriaphobia and get a head start on the weekend!