This is the coolest thing you will learn today. Or if you already knew this, then it’s the coolest things you’ll be reminded of today. From Wikipedia:
The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen), or paraskevidekatriaphobia a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”) attached to phobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning “fear”).
Try saying either of those 13 times in row.
Wikipedia breaks down the history of why Friday the 13th might be considered to be an ominous day. 13 is an unlucky number in numerology, and it seems that Friday developed a rotten reputation centuries ago, though that perception has probably mellowed since the advent of the weekend. The modern day observation of “bad things happening” on Friday the 13th can probably be pinned on confirmation bias and selective memory. The wikipedia article lists some data for the rate of accidents on days designated Friday the 13th.
Probably the most amusing Friday the 13th story going around today is Life magazine’s photo journal about a meeting of the Chicago Anti-Superstition Society from December 13th, 1940.
Life originally attended the Friday the 13th party in 1940, and this is a collection of photos taken at the time. The ASS (wait, maybe that shouldn’t be abbreviated) party involved the flaunting of a lot of superstitious nonsense over a lot of delicious adult-looking beverages. Was this one of the first Skeptics in the Pub?
Also, check out CSI’s (The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) webpage on superstition. They have compiled a library of superstitions and list ideas for activities and games to play at a Superstition Bash like the one hosted 72 years ago by the Chicago Anti-Superstition Society. Hmmm…the next Friday the 13th is in April…that could be plenty of time to plan a party, mwahahaha!