The Sometimes Funny Facts about Fear of Fri. the 13th

Friday the Thirteenth isn't the only combination on the calendar that has inspired superstition.

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Want to know the word for fear of Friday the 13th? Let's just say if you can spell it, you probably deserve to win a spelling bee.

Although Friday the 13th may be a movie or just another day to you, it’s still a day worth noting in part because it’s got its own fear named for it.

While Friday the 13th may or may not spook you, there’s actually a term for the fear of this particular day, a word so long and difficult to say that it could easily inspire fear in someone doing a spelling bee.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th, based on Paraskevil, ancient Greek for Friday, as well as dekatreís, which means 13, and phobos, which, of course, means fear.

It’s not the only day that prompted superstiton  in  Greece  and some areas of Spain and Latin America, where Tuesday the 13th is also seen as unlucky, according to Wikipedia.

For those who struggle to say the primary Greek term used for fear of Friday the 13th, there’s another term for fear of the dreaded day, the nearly as difficult to pronounce friggatriskaidekaphobia, from old Norse. Try saying that two times fast -or even one time slow.

Frigg, by the way, is the Norse goddess for Friday, a day that clearly deserves its own god or goddess and which many people consider lucky, because it precedes the weekend.

Some people had a fairly good day today, overall, despite the convergence of Friday and 13. If Felicty Huffman was unhappy with the sentence in her cheating scandal case, she might have complained about it being delivered on Friday the 13th.

The judge sentenced her to 14 days, possibly deciding that two weeks would do it - or wanting to avoid any number like 13 with symbolism. It's somewhere between time in a penalty box and a long vacation.

There is also a fear of the number 13, called triskaidekaphobia, rather than a fear of the date on the calendar, Hotels that skip over 13 certainly could be said to suffer from that. Or at least they may be afraid customers will steer clear of those rooms.

Thirteen, however, does have its fans, from votaries of Channel 13 (you may wonder how Public Television got that number around here) and Alex Rodriguez, of course, wore that number for years with pinstripe pride - and some problems.

He was a huge success, based on many statistics. On the other hand, he ran into more than his share of problems. Would things have been different if he wore a more ordinary digit on his uniform? Not likely, although the decision to go with 13 probably says something about a person.

Thirteen isn’t the only number that has its detractors as, well as hotels and other businesses that skip the number - apparently suffering from, well, that long word for the fear of that digit.

In Italy, one can run across Heptadekaphobia or the fear of unlucky 17. The Roman numeral for 17 happens to be XVII.

That may not explain much, but that number also can be rearranged to spell VIXI, which literally means “I have lived,” and therefore can be interpreted to mean no longer living.

People in ancient Rome clearly had too much time on their hands, if they were able to develop superstitions based on rearranging numbers. Or maybe a Roman emperor had a bad day on the 17th. 

In Italy, some planes have no row 17 and some hotels have no room 17, according to Wikipedia. So if you travel to Italy, that hotel may actually be one floor less than it appears to be. If your room is on floor 17, it may at least be worth trying to get a discount.

The Ides of March (the date, not the band) it turns out, takes place on March 15, which is seen as a notoriously unlucky day in history.

There are religious observances on that day, and it turns out that the Romans used it as a deadline for settling debts, which is certainly an unlucky thing if you're paying - and lucky if you're being paid.

Shakespeare, though, helped make that day famous, as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar, who probably thought things were OK that day because, well, it wasn't Friday the 13th.

Anyone afraid or Friday the 13th can rest easy for a while, but not as long as most intervals between these dates. The next Friday the 13th is December 13, followed by March 13 and November 13 in 2020 and August 13 in 2021.

If things go wrong on Friday the 13th, it probably has nothing to do with the date, which comes around fairly regularly. If anyone reading this suffers from the unpronouncable fear of the date at hand, there is hope. There are ways to overcome the fear of Friday the 13th .

But on a purely practical level, the best cure for fear or dislike of this day is probably, well… Saturday. If that doesn't work, with a little luck, Sunday may make you forget the fear. Or you might just go and eat at Friday's, which can be fun any day of the week.

If you go there on Friday the 13th, it might even be worth suggesting they roll out a special for the holiday that includes their name. And while you're there, look around.

If there aren't that many people, it may be because some stayed home due to, well, the fear that takes 23 letters to spell and a lot of skill to say.