13 August 2010

Paraskevidekatriaphobics anyone???

So what exactly are Paraskevidekatriaphobics ? -  people afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th.  Today some people will be so paralyzed with fear they simply won't get out of bed. Others will steadfastly refuse to fly on an airplane, buy a house, or act on a hot stock tip. It's Friday the 13th, and they're freaked out.

So how did Friday the 13th become such an unlucky day? The fear of Friday the 13th is set in ancient, separate bad-luck associations with both the number 13 and the day Friday.  When these two unlucky entities combine it makes for a super unlucky day.

Many stories about the number 13 abound.  In Norse times there is a  myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. Balder died and the whole Earth got dark. From that moment on, the number 13 has been considered ominous and foreboding. There is also a biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper. Meanwhile, in ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

Numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. Going to 13 indicates an oddity - something beyond the norm. This fear of 13 is strong in today's world.  80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor, many airports skip the 13th gate and hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.

As for Friday, it is well known among Christians as the day Jesus was crucified. Some biblical scholars believe Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit on Friday. Perhaps most significant is a belief that Abel was slain by Cain on Friday the 13th.

So why the history lesson about Friday the 13th. Well today would have been my father's birthday (he passed away back in 1994) and he was born on a Friday and of course today I have been thinking about him and perhaps pondering over the "luckiness" of his lifetime. To add to this little scenario my mother was also born on the 13th and yes it was a Friday. So two people both born on the 13th, both on a Friday come together and marry. Was it a successful union, did they have a lucky life together? I would have to say no they didn't. They both were plagued with health issues, they worked hard but never really had much to show for it and had many more downs than ups in the lifetimes. I'm not a superstitious person by nature, I don't worry about black cats and walking under ladders nor would breaking a mirror send me into a screaming heap of hysteria but I have to admit that being born on Friday the 13th might not be a recipe to a successful, fulfilling life.

Dad and Mum

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