It’s Friday the 13th, a day that instills fear in millions of superstitious Americans. But where did worries about odd events and happenings on these random Fridays actually originate? As it turns out, qualms surrounding this day are actually rooted in religion.
At its core, experts claim that legitimate fear of the day is rooted in triskaidekaphobia, which, according to National Geographic, is fear of the number 13 (yes, it’s apparently a real thing). This superstition is often taught to young Americans by their parents, according to psychology professor Stuart Vyse of Connecticut College. Thus, it passes on from generation to generation and is further popularized and reinforced in media and entertainment.
The superstition itself, according to Vyse, may actually come from a solitary event — the Last Supper. The meal’s 13th guest, Judas, as you likely know, went on to turn on Jesus Christ, inevitably resulting in the crucifixion. The betrayal apparently happened on a Friday, a day that was already said to be known for creating anxieties in some.
All this considered, superstitions collided and the day became a dreaded one for so many.
National Geographic has more about the fascinating story:
The taboo against the number 13 spread with Christianity and into non-Christian areas, noted Phillips Stevens, Jr., an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Buffalo in New York.” It became extremely widespread through the Euro-American world, embedded in culture, [and] extremely persistent,” he said.
As TheBlaze noted earlier today, while some quip and joke about Friday the 13th, the day actually does have economic and social ramifications. While some people lock themselves in their homes and avoid going out, others refuse to fly or engage in other activities that might be seen as potentially calamitous (or, at the least, holding the potential for death or even danger).
In 2004, National Geographic interviewed Donald Dossey, owner of a stress management company, who told the outlet, “It’s been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do.”
So, there you have it. Superstition abounds and has carried through now for thousands of years. Will the number 13 ever be redeemed? It’s unlikely, but then again, even the strangest things are possible.
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(H/T: National Geographic)