Triskaidekaphobia or Paraskevidekatriaphobe??
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As most TravBuddies probably already realize, today is Friday the 13th, the second of 2009 a date commonly associated with bad luck. Watch out for black cats, large tounged Tigers, avoid mirrors and ladders and, by all means, don't spill the salt or sit in row 13 or seat 13 on a Plane, Train, Bus, or Boat!!!
But whether you're a true Triskaidekaphobe (a person with an irrational fear of Friday the 13th, also called a Paraskevidekatriaphobe) or just mildly suspicious, it's probably a good idea to know just where your trepidation comes from. Old School is a recovering Semisutotriskaidekaphobe.
Millions of superstitious TravBuddies around the world will hold their breath anticipating misfortune.
The superstition is derived from myths about both Fridays and the number 13. Fridays, for example, are hailed as a particularly significant day in the Christian tradition. Obviously, there is Good Friday & Old School Friday. But according to Christian lore, Adam and Eve also supposedly ate the forbidden fruit on a Friday, the Great Flood started on a Friday, the builders of the Tower of Babel were tongue-tied on a Friday and the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday.
Of course, the Bible doesn't specifically note many these events occurring on Fridays. The word "Friday" is, in fact, derived from a Norse deity who was worshipped on the sixth day of the week and who represented marriage and fertility. Fridays in the early Norse culture were associated with love and considered a good day for weddings.
In addition to the legendary significance of Fridays the sixth day of the week also was execution day in ancient Rome and later Hangman's Day in Britain according to Julies Old School & Hangman Harry Old School.
The number 13 also has mythological and religious symbolism. Both the Hindus and Vikings reportedly had a myth in which 12 gods were invited to a gathering and Loki, the Old School god of mischief, crashed the party and incited a riot. Tradition in both cultures holds that 13 people at a dinner party is bad luck and will end in the death of the party-goers.
Following in that vein, the Last Supper in Christian tradition hosted 13 people and one betrayed Christ, resulting in the crucifixion.
The number 13 also has been associated with death in other cultures. The ancient Egyptians, for example, believed life unfolded in 12 stages, and the 13th stage was death. The Egyptians considered death a part of their ultimate journey and looked forward to the spiritual transformation thus 13 was not an unlucky number in their culture but like so many others, the tradition warped through time and cultures, eventually associating the number 13 with a more negative and fearful interpretation of death.
Then, there's the event that ties the two superstitions together. Though it's clear that superstitions associating Fridays and the number 13 with misfortune date back to the ancient times, some sources assign the precise origin of the black spot on the day itself, Friday the 13th, to a specific historical event. It was on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, that France's King Philip IV had the Knights Templar rounded up for torture and execution. The Knights Templar were an order of warriors within the Roman Catholic Church who banded together to protect Christian TravBuddies visiting Jerusalem in the centuries after the Crusades. The Knights eventually became a rich, powerful and allegedly corrupt order within the church and were executed for heresy.
The date may be forever cursed by one event that occurred nearly 700 years ago, or by a series of cosmic TravBuddy coincidences.
Or it may be a figment of TravBuddies collective imaginations.