Friggatriskaidekaphobia Is Very Real

April 13, 2018

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Friggatriskaidekaphobia comes from Frigg, the Norse goddess of wisdom after whom Friday is named, and the Greek words triskaideka, meaning 13, and phobia, meaning fear. And it's pretty common.

Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, is more common. So common that many high-rise buildings, hotels, and hospitals skip the 13th floor and many airports do not have gates numbered 13. In many parts of the world, having 13 people at the dinner table is considered bad luck.

However, experts say that friggatriskaidekaphobia affects millions of people and estimate that businesses, especially airlines suffer from severe losses on Friday the 13th.

Not everyone feels that way, however. My wife's grandmother, who was born on the 13th, proclaimed it as her favorite number. And anytime the number was mentioned, she would shriek with joy and repeat "13". So, a lot has to do with perspective. 

It's also not seen as a day of misery everywhere. For example, in Italy, Friday the 17th is considered to be a day that brings bad luck. In fact, the number 13 is thought to be a lucky number! In many Spanish speaking countries and in Greece, Tuesday the 13th is seen as a day of misfortune.

And, as it turns out, there's really no statistical evidence that proves Friday the 13th is any more "unlucky" than any other day.