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Friday the 13th


On Friday the 13th two phobias combine. First there is the fear of the number 13, superstitions about which have been around for centuries. Then there is the more recent fear of a particular Friday in the month. The phobias meet in the psychological term ‘paraskavedekatriaphobia’ or ‘friggatriskaidekaphobia’ derived from ancient Greek and Old Norse words.
According to biblical tradition, thirteen guests attended the Last Supper: Jesus and his twelve apostles, one of who betrayed him. But even before Judas became the most despised dinner guest in history, Norse mythology spoke of a banquet for twelve gods that was crashed by a thirteenth evil spirit, Loki, who killed one of the other guests with a poisoned arrow.
Fear of Friday the 13th is, however, a relatively recent tradition, about a century old. Good Friday was, of course, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, although, in Greek and Hispanic tradition, it is Tuesday 13th that is considered unlucky, while in Italian popular culture Friday 17th is considered a day of bad luck.