Today is Friday the 13th, and the fear of this day runs deep. If you've checked Facebook at all today, you probably saw friends and family posting about it. It was even a trending topic on Twitter.
So why does the day really cause us so much concern? Certainly it isn't the horror film franchise that uses it as its namesake, and chances are fairly good that nothing bad has happened to you on a Friday the 13th -- yet. But the British Medical Journal published in 1993
that the likelihood that you will be hospitalized on Friday the 13th increases by 52%. There's even a name for the fear of Friday the 13th: Paraskevidekatriaphobia.
The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th really seems to be the combination of Friday and the number 13. Thirteen is seen as unlucky by all sorts of people. On a cruise I took last spring, I noticed that there wasn't a 13th floor to the cruise ship, due in part to nautical superstition that the 13th floor would be unlucky. The ill-fated Apollo 13 mission certainly didn't keep people from believing thirteen was a number to avoid. Even in the Christian tradition, the number thirteen pops up at the Last Supper: all of the good disciples and Jesus makes twelve, but add Judas, the betrayer, and you get thirteen.
As for Friday, we get from Christian tradition that Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Ironically, in the Spanish tradition, Tuesday the 13th is the unlucky one, so perhaps Friday has very little to do with it.
All of this leads me to the question: does it really matter? When it comes to superstition among Christians, the idea of luck, good or bad, seems to be lost on the God who calls for faith, trust and belief. We need not fear the terrors of the night, the boogie man in the closet or the ghost lurking in the woods surrounding the cabin we have so thoughtlessly decided it would be best to stay in for the night. When we have a God who takes care of our needs, there's no point in foolish worries about stepping on a crack or even living on the 13th floor.
But it certainly is fun to think about. What are some superstitions you have held? Does Friday the 13th worry you at all? Has anything actually happened to you on Friday the 13th?