It could be a day like any other, after all, it comes back every year (sometimes even several times). And yet Friday the 13th causes discomfort for many people. For centuries it has been considered an unlucky day.
The fear of the number 13 even has a name: Triskaidekaphobia.
Each year around the world $ 700 to $ 800 million is lost because people refused to do business or go on trips on Friday the 13th. Some even refuse to fly that day.
But why actually?
The fear of Friday the 13th
It is the combination of Friday and 13 that is considered ominous in the Christian faith. On the one hand, it could be because 13 was popularly referred to as the “dozen of the devil”. And the fact that Adam and Eve were driven out of Paradise on a Friday. It could also be because Judas, who betrayed Jesus, was invited as the 13th guest at the Last Supper, whereupon Jesus was crucified on a Friday (now known as Good Friday).
But the number 13 is not only special in the Christian faith: The Babylonian Codex Hammurapi, a list of legal pronouncements, dispenses with the number 13 entirely. The Egyptians saw the afterlife as the 13th phase of life.
In Norse mythology, the eleven closest friends have dinner together with Odin, the father of all gods, when Loki, the god of evil and chaos, storms the festivities. Balder, the god of joy and happiness, dies in the process.
The fact that the French King Philip IV ordered the execution of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307, did not create a good reputation in history on Friday the 13th.
But there are also cultural reasons that people don’t like the number 13. Twelve is common in our culture – twelve months, twelve digits on the clock, twelve zodiac signs, twelve apostles.
According to the math encyclopedia Wolfram Mathworld, twelve is a pseudo-perfect number – because many of its divisors are integers: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. 2 + 4 + 6 and 1 + 2 + 3 + 6 equals 12.
No matter how and when the fear of Friday the 13th started – it still lasts. “If no one tells us that Friday the 13th is bad, then we’d be better off,” said psychology professor Stuart Vyse, told National Geographic.
Friday the 13th no more dangerous
By the way: According to statisticians, the fear of Friday the 13th is completely unfounded. Both the ADAC and the Austrian insurance company Uniqa came to the conclusion that a Friday the 13th is no more dangerous than other days, at least when it comes to damage and accidents. According to the ADAC, there are more accidents on Fridays, but not specifically on Friday the 13th. On Fridays between 2004 and 2016, an average of 991 accidents with personal injury occurred in Germany. On the 23 Fridays that fell on a 13th during this period, there was an average of 995 accidents.
The Uniqa, in turn, looked at the 13th day of each month. 16.4 percent of car and household damage are reported for Friday the 13th. On Wednesday the 13th, it was 21.5 percent and thus more. Incidentally, most claims are reported for the 1st day of the month. So you live no more dangerous on Friday the 13th.