Friggatriskaidekaphobia? Fear of Friday the 13th

Apollo 13 lifting off

Apollo 13's mission had everything to do with a design flaw, not the number 13. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Every now and again, a Friday happens to be day 13 of any given month. It doesn’t really mean anything, but people get spooked about it all the same, and this fear is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Granted, most black cats won’t do anything more harmful than shed or do that annoying thing with their paws. Regardless, people do indulge in their superstitions. The word for being afraid of Friday the 13th is friggatriskaidekaphobia. If you say the word in the mirror three times, Jason Voorhees will still be a fictional character.

Frigga what now?

It’s pronounced “fri-gah-tri-sk-eye-de-kah-fo-bia.” The word, a portmanteau, means a person is afraid of Friday the 13th. Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13, and friggaphobia is the fear of Friday. Put them together and you have friggatriskaidekaphobia. Friday was a day associated with witches. The German/Norse goddess Frigga, or Freya, got the day of the week named for her, as Freya-day. The day arguably could be associated with witches simply because it was named for a female deity, but sexism in the ancient world is a topic for another time. Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. The word “tri” is the number three, “deka” is 10, you get the idea.

Does anything happen on Friday the 13th?

The short is no. The long answer is also no. A correlation to anything with Friday the 13th has never been observed, other than a few people getting the “heebie-jeebies” or friggatriskaidekaphobia. If there were a real correlation between Friday the 13th and things like car accidents, it would have been published and documented by now. Also, even if more car accidents were observed on Friday the 13th, you would also have to account for more people drinking on Friday.

Under the ladder I go

Superstitions like friggatriskaidekaphobia are harmless. There are some other silly superstitions that are part of tradition. For instance, theater actors won’t actually say “MacBeth” in a theater, as the play is supposedly cursed, and refer to it only as “the Scottish play.” Just like Halloween, it’s a great excuse to have some fun with something silly, so put on a scary movie with the kids and/or significant other. Just don’t go to Crystal Lake.

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