Some superstitions strike automatic fear in the hearts of people. The black cat walking in front of you, a mirror breaking and of course nobody feels comfortable walking under a ladder. But one of them stands above the rest and that is the unluckiness of Friday the 13th.
It is a day so scary that it has a phobia named for it: friggatriskaidekaphobia. The word is a combination of "Frigga," the name of the Norse goddess for whom "Friday" is named, and "triskaidekaphobia," or fear of the number thirteen. An alternative name of the phobia, though just as tongue-twisty, is "paraskevidekatriaphobia."
Between 17 million and 21 million Americans have an irrational fear of the ill-fated day, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina.
"It's been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day, because people will not fly or do business they would normally do," Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, told National Geographic.
Some say it’s the number 13 that scares so many people. The number has been considered unlucky to many superstitious people, so much so that most buildings don't have a thirteenth floor, and many airports don't have a thirteenth gate.
Another myth declares that "a child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life," according to TIME magazine.
Friday has also long been considered an unlucky day. One theory hypothesizes that Friday has been considered unlucky because Jesus was crucified on a Friday according to Christian Scripture and tradition. Another states that the superstition regarding Friday comes from Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales," published in the 14th century, where Friday is considered a day of misfortune and ill luck.
Whatever the case, friggatriskaidekaphobics can breathe a sigh of relief over one thing: the date can only appear a maximum of three times during a calendar year.
This year, the inauspicious day appears in January, April and July. But after today, the date isn't set to venture back onto the calendar until September 2013. Yeah, only one Friday the 13th in 2013.