In many western cultures, there is a superstitious belief that the number 13 is unlucky. It is so unlucky that some buildings do not have a 13th floor. Businesses record sales losses on this day, and there are even reports of more traffic accidents on every Friday the 13th.
But where does this unlucky superstition come from?
Actually, no one knows for sure. Some people say that it comes from the Bible, when 13 people were present for the Last Supper before the crucifixion on Good Friday. This explains both the number 13 and the day Friday becoming “unlucky,” but doesn’t explain why they are unlucky together. In fact, it probably wasn’t until the 19th century that people actually started to develop a fear of the two together.
Then, when people began to develop such a fear of this date, science had to give it an official name: paraskevidekatriaphobia.
Listen to the helpful post from National Public Radio to learn how to pronounce this difficult word:
One of the biggest contributors to the fear of Friday the 13th has probably been the movie franchise Friday the 13th. These horror movies marked the culture in the USA and definitely gave us all a bigger reason to become paraskevidekatriaphobic!
Just listen to the theme song from the movie and tell me it doesn’t make you nervous!
Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th; audio file from: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/12/13/250699441/for-friday-the-13th-say-it-with-us-paraskevidekatriaphobia; video from: https://youtu.be/b71j1v5oyOY
Questions? Comments? Let me know and sign up for an English class with me to learn more about culture and superstitions in the USA!