Friggatriskaidekaphobia Day – Fear of Friday the 13th

Friggatriskaidekaphobia is really just a more drawn out long name for the inexplicable fear so many have of Friday the 13th.  While the day is just another 24 hour period where the sun rises and sets and we all go about our daily lives, there are millions who are wary to say TGIF on this particular unlucky day.

But why do we feel so strange on Friday the 13th?  What force drives so many to call in sick?  And what is the real world impact of having a significant portion of the population who simply refuse to do much of anything when this day dawns?

Well, the forces behind friggatriskaidekaphobia are based in numerology.  The number twelve has always been considered a number of completion and ending.  And so the number directly beyond the number twelve is considered to be a deviation from the norm.  Compounding that is the fact that Friday has always been considered a day of ill luck.  And so it would follow that the two – when combined – would be particularly unlucky.

But a more recent account, popularized by the 2003 book and subsequent film, The DaVinci Code drew a parallel between the Knights Templar and the unlucky day.  When Philip the fifth of France had crusaders executed for fabricated crimes, temple Grand Master Jacques De Molay came to their aid stating that the confessions they had given had been given only under the condition of torture.  Infuriated by the rebellion of Molay, Philip had him burned at the stake.  But as he stood rebelliously awaiting his final fate, Molay cursed Pope Clement the fifth and King Philip stating they would both die by the year’s end.  Strangely, his prophesy came true on both accounts.  The date enters into this tragic tale because when Philip sent his orders to the enforcers of the land, they were told not to open the sealed scrolls until Friday the 13th.  And so the legendary date, which had been already declared the Witch’s Sabbath became all the more infamous.

But what does this day amount to in dollars and cents?  Friggatriskaidekaphobia is estimated to have cost businesses an estimated $9 billion in the past ten years according to North Carolina’s Stress Management and Phobia Center in Asheville.  Somewhere around 20 million people avoid the day altogether and go into hiding until it is over.  The superstitious fear of the unknown is so great it’s difficult to see many friggatriskaidekaphobia sufferers as they do not welcome news of any sort.  And so if the streets seem strangely quiet on this fateful day, it’s no coincidence.

And finally an interesting note.  Though there will be only one Friday the 13th this year in May, 2012 is going to contain no fewer than three Friday the 13th’s occurring in January, April, and July.  Interestingly all three months are considered to be defining ones within the year.

But how did Friday the 13th pass on this year?  It seems to have passed without any known world changing events so far, but if you see a man in a hockey mask it might be a good idea to leave the area – unless it’s a hockey game.