The Border Collie Chronicles

Observations from (arguably) the World's Smartest Dogs;
(but, without question, the bestest friends!)
or, Life As We Understand It, as told from dad's shop.

Posted February 12, 2015



By Rooney


Friggatriskaidekaphobia, or paraskevidekatriaphobia, is the fear of Friday the 13th.

Happy day to all of you!!!  As you know, we will be experiencing Friday the 13th before too long (or it might have already come and gone … depending on your loyalty to reading this little site every Thursday!!!)  Are you afeared?  You shouldn’t fall prey to this old superstition!  Here is some additional information on the origin of the fear of Friday the 13th for those of you that are so inclined …


The fear of Friday the 13th stems from two separate causes -- the fear of the number 13 and the fear of Fridays[i].  Both fears have deep roots in Western culture, most notably in Christian theology.


Thirteen is significant to Christians because it is the number of people who were present at the Last Supper (Jesus and his 12 apostles).  Judas, the apostle w­ho betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member of the party to arrive.  Further, in Norse mythology, the beloved hero Balder was killed at a banquet by the mischievous god Loki, who crashed the party of twelve, bringing the group to 13.  This story, as well as the story of the Last Supper, led to one of the most entrenched 13-related beliefs:  It’s believed that you should never sit down to a meal in a group of 13.


­Christians have traditionally been wary of Fridays because Jesus was crucified on a Friday.  Additionally, some theologians hold that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit on a Friday, and that the Great Flood began on a Friday.  In the past, many Christians would never begin any new project or trip on a Friday, fearing they would be doomed from the start.


Sailors were particularly superstitious in this regard, often refusing to ship out on a Friday.  According to unverified legend (very likely untrue), the British Navy commissioned a ship in the 1800s called H.M.S. Friday, in order to quell the superstition.  The navy selected the crew on a Friday, launched the ship on a Friday and even selected a man named James Friday as the ship's captain.  Then, one Friday morning, the ship set off on its maiden voyage... and disappeared forever.  A similar, entirely factual story is the harrowing flight of Apollo 13.


Some historians suggest the Christian distrust of Fridays is actually linked to the early Catholic Church's overall suppression of pagan religions and women.  In the Roman calendar, Friday was devoted to Venus, the goddess of love.  When Norsemen adapted the calendar, they named the day after Frigg, or Freya, Norse goddesses connected to love and sex.  Both of these strong female figures once posed a threat to male-dominated Christianity, the theory goes, so the Christian church vilified the day named after them.


Another significant piece of the legend is a particularly bad Friday the 13th that occurred in the middle ages.  On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil.


This characterization may also have played a part in the fear of the number 13.  It was said that Frigg would often join a coven of witches, normally a group of 12, bringing the total to 13.  This idea may have originated with the Christian Church itself; it's impossible to verify the exact origins of most folklore.  A similar Christian legend holds that 13 is unholy because it signifies the gathering of 12 witches and the devil.


The number 13 could also have been considered pagan because there are 13 months in the pagan lunar calendar.  The lunar calendar also corresponds to the human menstrual cycle, connecting the number to femininity.


Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment.  In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.


According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day making it the most feared day and date in history.  Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed.  "It's been estimated that $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day"[ii]. 


Ultimately, the complex folklore of Friday the 13th doesn't have much to do with people's fears today.  The fear has much more to do with personal experience.  People learn at a young age that Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky, for whatever reason, and then they look for evidence that the legend is true.  The evidence isn't hard to come by, of course.  If you get in a car wreck on one Friday the 13th, lose your wallet, or even spill your coffee, that day will probably stay with you.  But if you think about it, bad things, big and small, happen all the time. But, if you're looking for bad luck on Friday the 13th, you'll probably find it[iii].


In conclusion, superstitions are for weak minded folks.  I don’t know about ya’ll – but, so far, ain’t nothing bad happened to me on a Friday the 13th (knock on wood[iv] and cross my fingers[v]) ,,, so, to me … it’s just another day!


Wishing you the best!!!





Some Quotes To Think On …


Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind.  To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse.  To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better.  To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.

King Whitney Jr.



Fear does not have any special power unless you empower it by submitting to it.

Les Brown



You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.  You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

Eleanor Roosevelt



Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker.  Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy.  Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity.  And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.

Thomas J. Watson



A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities.

William Arthur Ward



My friends, love is better than anger.  Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.  So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.  And we’ll change the world.

Jack Layton





[i] I don’t know about ya’ll … but I have no fear of Fridays … in fact, I look forward to “Frosty Fridays”!  Thirteen … Heck, I can take it or leave it … not too concerned, don’t prefer it, but won’t run from it either.


[iv] Knocking on wood refers to the apotropaic tradition in western folklore[citation needed] of literally touching, tapping, or knocking on wood, or merely stating that you are doing or intend same, in order to avoid "tempting fate" after making a favorable observation, a boast, or declaration concerning one's own death or other unfavorable situation beyond one's control. The origin of this may be in germanic folklore, wherein dryads are thought to live in trees, and can be invoked for protection.


[v] To cross one's fingers is a hand gesture commonly used to implore God for protection, as well as to wish for good luck.  The gesture is referred to by the common expression "keeping one's fingers crossed" or just "fingers crossed" and has also been historically used in order to allow early Christian believers to recognize one another during times of persecution.




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