ARE YOU AFRAID OF FRIDAY THE 13TH?
By : Raymond Padya
Some people are afraid of the day Friday 13 to the extent that they avoid their normal daily routines and some even avoid getting out of bed to go to work. But, is there a reason to be afraid of the day?
The claim that Friday the 13th is a doomed day that bad things happen has existed for hundreds of years and there hasn’t been any evidence to support the claim. There are many theories as to when this superstition started and how, but none of them fully provide a concrete reason as to why Friday the 13th is regarded as a day of evil karma.
The most common theory is that Friday 13 is disaster-prone because it is the amalgamation of (13), which is regarded as a bad number in many religions, with Friday, which is also regarded as a depraved day by many religions. It’s considered unlucky to have 13 guests at a dinner party, a lot of interior designers omit putting the13th floor in a building and some people even avoid getting married on this day.
Igor Radun of the Human Factors and Safety Behavior Group at the University of Helsinki’s Institute of Behavioural Sciences in Finland was quoted on MNT, a medical news website arguing that 13 is in fact, not an unlucky number.
“No data exists, and will never exist, to confirm that the number 13 is an unlucky number,” he said. “There is no reason to believe that any number would be lucky or unlucky.”
The reasons as to why the number 13 and the day Friday are regarded as bad differ from various religions and beliefs. However, they are all myths. At least that is how Pastor Siyabonga Nzimande sees it.
“Friday the 13th is just a custom and a superstition which is similar to Halloween, a belief which is made out of fear and myths,” he said.
Speaking of myths, according to the University of Cincinnati culture expert Rebecca Borah, associate professor, English and comparative literature in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, superstitions last through centuries because it is a human habit.
“We do inherit and continue habitual beliefs and habits. So, once a belief about a number or a day or other superstition has some traction, it becomes enduring,” she said in an article by M.B Reilly.
Recent findings have shown that Friday the 13th is actually one of the safest days to travel.
An Insurance company from Ireland called Chill insurance released a new survey on the 10th of September 2013 for people with Paraskevidekatriaphobia (a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th), which shows a 14% decrease in road accidents where Fridays fell on the 13th of the month. Chill insurance suggest that the belief of bad luck may have a positive impact on driving behavior, making roads safer.
Chair of the Department of Psychology at Cornell University, Thomas Gilovich articulates that some people are afraid of this date because they link it to unpleasant things or events in their life.
“The mind is an associative system and if anything bad happens to you on Friday the 13th, the two will be forever associated in your mind and all those uneventful days in which the 13th fell on a Friday will be ignored,” he said on an MNT medical news website.
We choose what we want to believe regardless of the roots of what we believe in. For all those Paraskevidekatriaphobia sufferers, according to a research I conducted on Facebook, Friday the 13th phobia is only a state of mind.