Well, Bless My Paraskevidekatriaphobia
Do you have paraskevidekatriaphobia? Yes! Fear of Friday the 13th (today). For some of us the day will pass like any other however that is not the case for everyone and according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States (not including those from the rest of the world) are affected by a fear of this day.
Some people are so paralyzed by a fear of Friday the 13th that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. And it has been estimated that up to 900 million dollars are lost in business on this day. People just close themselves in their homes, just to avoid any possibility of something bad happening.
A Facebook friend, Mairead Kenehan, had this to tell me – “I don’t spend the day in fear but no way would I get married or sign for a house or anything like that. Would be just a bit nervous of that… and for no good reason I know it makes no sense at all!”
I also do not live in fear of the day like Mairead but I have to admit that for major plans such as signing a business deal, buying a car or house or even flying I would give Friday the 13th a miss, and I know many people would. Does this mean that businesses could be affected worldwide by this date? It’s very possible however interesting to note that representatives for both Delta and Continental Airlines say that their airlines don’t suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.
But then for some the day is positive, this morning on Twitter and Facebook I asked the following question –
“Do you have a fear of Friday the 13th? How will you be spending the day? Have you ever been unlucky on that day?”
Elaine Rogers replied (@elainerogers via Twitter) – “I don’t remember being either but I’m a bit of a rebel. I plan great things for Fri 13th. Except dangerous things of course”.
Darren Bayliss replied (@DIBayliss via Twitter) – “I’m hoping that it will be lucky Fri 13th for me there is a bunch of us meeting up 2moro for a Golf Tweet Up outside Clane” (have a great day Darren)
David Mueller replied (via Face Book) “I love Friday 13th, its one of my favorite numbers, I won big dollars on a horse that was number 13, it’s also a great night to go out”
Here are seven of my favorite Friday-the-13th facts:
- Fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia (say that 10 times fast) as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.
- Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor and some airline terminals omit Gate 13.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and President Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.
- Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest. Personally I have never hired a quatorzieme to grace my dinner table in Paris.
- Certain ocean liners are held in dock until after midnight to appease passenger’s fears on Friday the 13th.
- Apollo 13, 1970, the 13th mission launched from pad number 39 (13 x 3), mission was aborted, after an explosion occurred in the fuel cell of their service module. The rocket had left launching pad at 13:13 CST and the date was April 13th.
- Any month that begins on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th, and there is at least one Friday the 13th in every calendar year.
Are businesses affected by Friday the 13th or does the day pass as a normal trading day? I would love to hear your thoughts about it.