That's because, until I started this blog, I'd never heard of these words and didn't know they meant, much less how to pronounce them. I'll bet you didn't either.
Nonetheless, these are real medical phobias related to fearing the number thirteen and Friday the Thirteenth. But first, a quick look at where bad luck superstitions came from and particularly Friday the Thirteenth. And no, it wasn't the movie.
Every culture seems to have superstitions about days and numbers which are considered lucky or unlucky. In many places, Fridays and the number thirteen have traditionally been tagged as bad luck.
The exact origin of the superstition is unknown -- just lots of speculation -- but an argument can be made for the superstition existing since ancient times. Where ever it originated, a large portion of Western culture is stuck treating Friday the Thirteenth as a day of doom, despair, or bad luck.
● The word Friday represents the Norse goddess Frigg [Freyja or Freya], the goddess of love and war. She had many other talents as well. Some historians believe the Teutonic people called Friday unlucky because of Freyja, perhaps because one of her talents was magic.
● In the New Testament, thirteen people attended Jesus' last supper on Maundy Thursday, the day before Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday. Judas was the thirteenth to be seated.
● Numerology first appears in written records in Egypt and Babylon, and in numerology, the number 13 is considered unlucky. However, while 13 meant death to the ancient Egyptians, it was a joyous time when the person ascended into eternal life. Death was not considered bad luck to them.
● This is a more likely time for such superstitions to be tied to Christian beliefs surrounding the last supper and crucifixion.
● In the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote in his Canterbury Tales a reference to Friday as being unlucky.
●While some historians point to evidence of both Friday and the number thirteen being considered unlucky, there are no references connecting the two before the 19th century.
● Henry Sutherland Edward's 1869 biography of composer Giaochino Rossini, is credited with the first documented reference. According to Edwards, Rossini regarded Friday as an unlucky day, thirteen as an unlucky number, and died on Friday, November 13, 1868.
While I have no way of knowing if Rossini himself believed 13 was unlucky, I do know that Italians consider 13 a lucky number. The Italian bad-luck-number is seventeen, and that superstition has been around since the early Romans. I lived in Rome and know there are many buildings without a 17th floor or a room #17 and so on.
● Another early reference comes from a club [The Thirteen Club] formed by William Fowler, whose intention was to debunk the superstitions as baseless.
"REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUP OF BAD LUCK"
Quote: Kathy Padden [todayifoundout.com]
Sure, it never hurts to be cautious. You shouldn't walk under a ladder on any day, particularly if someone is standing on it with paint, but when taken to an extreme, it can become a medical condition. Who knew?
This is the term for extreme and irrational fear of the number thirteen. Thirteen isn't the only number people fear, but that's called Numerophobia or Arithmophobia.
Paraskavedekatriphobia [Also Friggatriskaidekaphobia]
This is the term for an exaggerated, irrational fear of Friday the Thirteenth. The name was first used in the 1990s by Dr. Donald E. Dossey, an American psychotherapist specializing in phobias and stress management. He is reputed as saying if someone can pronounce the name of the phobia, he/she is cured. The term uses the Greek word paraskevi (Friday) and dekatria (thirteen).
The symptoms resemble any panic attack:
● Rapid heart rate
● Lightheadedness or dizziness
● Refusing to leave home on this day
● Indulging in ritualistic behavior
● Talk of death or dying
Who Is Affected?
The bad news is that millions of people have Paraskavedekatriphobia to one degree or another, and businesses always report losses on Friday the 13th. Even more fear surrounds the unlucky number thirteen. The good news is that in any one year we will not have more than three Friday the 13ths. This year, the only other than this date (April 13) is July 13. What a relief!
WHAT NOT TO DO ON FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH
● If you cut your hair, someone in your family will die. [And YOU don't get to choose]
● If a funeral procession passes you, you will be next to die.
● Don't start a trip or you will encounter misfortune.
● If you break a mirror, you will have seven years bad luck.
● A child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life.
● Ships that set sail of Friday will have bad luck. In spite of the superstition, most pleasure boats make their first voyage on Good Friday (1857).
● Don't walk under a ladder or if a black cat crosses your path on Friday the 13th you will have bad luck.
● Don't start anything that represents the beginning or start of a new venture.
● If you've been ill, don't get up for the first time on a Friday.
● Don't move on a Friday, or you won't stay in the new location very long.
● Don't get married on Friday.
● And for goodness sake, don't invite 13 guests or sit 13 people at a table.
You've been warned!
COME ON, PEOPLE. GET A LIFE!