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What Is Friggatriskaidekaphobia?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2016
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For centuries, Friday has been believed to be an unlucky day and 13 has been believed to be an unlucky number. Many individuals may joke that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day, but some may actually fear this day. Friggatriskaidekaphobia is a term used to refer to the fear of Friday the 13th. Even though many people suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia, studies show that there is little to fear about this day in particular. It is usually simply classified as a common superstition.

Frigga, or Frigg, was the Norse goddess of marriage and motherhood, as well as the wife of Odin. She is also the goddess for whom Friday was named. Once Christianity became a dominant religion, legend states that Frigga was branded a witch and banished to a mountain top. There, she met with other witches, as well as the devil himself, to plan terrible misfortunes for the following week. Jesus Christ was also supposedly crucified on a Friday, which is another possible reason that this day might be considered unlucky.

Thirteen is also considered to be an unlucky number. The fear of the number 13 is often referred to as triskaidekaphobia. It is only natural that an unlucky day combined with an unlucky number would lead to an extreme superstition and friggatriskaidekaphobia.

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Friggatriskaidekaphobia is among the newer superstitions. It wasn't mentioned in writing until the 19th century in a biography about the famous Italian composer, Gioachino Rossini. Henry Sutherland Edwards, the author of the biography, stated that Rossini believed both Friday and the number 13 to be unlucky. It is also noted that he died on a Friday the 13th.

Sufferers of friggatriskaidekaphobia must usually face their fears at least once each year, since on the modern calendar, the 13th falls on a Friday nearly every year. During some years, this unlucky date may also occur as many as three times. Exceptions to this rule, however, do occur, but it is rare. Also, as a general rule, when the first of the month falls on a Sunday, the 13th will fall on a Friday during that particular month.

Like many irrational fears, the effects of friggatriskaidekaphobia may be mild to severe. Some people may simply feel uneasy and be extra careful on this day. Other more superstitious people, however, may refuse to travel or even leave their houses. They may also have severe panic attacks.

Despite the fear of this particular date, studies have shown that accidents do not occur any more or less than any other Fridays. Business, on the other hand, may suffer. Studies show that millions of dollars in sales are lost every Friday the 13th. This most likely occurs because some people choose to stay home on this particularly superstitious day.

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