Friday 13th: Why so superstitious?

If you are avoiding doing something today due to the unfavourable date, you are not alone. There is even a word to describe how you are feeling - paraskavedekatriaphobia. Derived from the Greek word for Friday, it means fear of Friday the 13th. Nearly three-quarters of adults in the UK say they have suffered from bad luck on a previous Friday 13th, according to research carried out by hotel chain Travelodge. Big business isn't immune to the superstition either, with hotels routinely skipping floor 13. In 2013 the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) introduced a bi-annual system amid fears that a '13' registration number would hit car sales. Cars registered in the first half of the year took a '131' registration, while those in the second half of the year had '132' on the plate, with the extra digit avoiding a simple '13'. And if you're in the market for a new house, you could save around £9,000 on the cost of a property if you are willing to live at 'unlucky' number 13, according to property website Zoopla. But why is today - Friday the 13th - traditionally regarded as the unluckiest day of the year? Some say the negative associations with it can be traced back to links with stories from the Bible. Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest at the Last Supper. Friday was also the day Eve tempted Adam with the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, the day the great flood began during the time of Noah, the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel and the day Jesus was crucified. Norse mythology traces the superstition back to a banquet at Valhalla where Loke, the demi god of mischief turned up unannounced as the 13th guest, causing chaos. And history tells us that on Friday 13 October 1307, a warrant was issued for the Knights Templar to be arrested, and masses of Templars were tortured or executed. And there's bad news for haters of the day - this year we have not one, but two Friday the 13ths to contend with: today and Friday October 13th. However, if you are keen to take a more positive slant on the superstition, take a leaf out of the ancient Egyptians' book. They believed the number 13 was lucky because they believed that the 13th stage of life was related to the afterlife. And in Spain there is a common belief that Friday 13th is a particularly lucky day for children to be born. Read More: Sky News

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