According to an article in the National Geographic on Friday, August 13, 2010, 20 million Americans suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th. The American economy loses about $800 million every time this occurs because these people fear flying or doing business on this day. Back in the 1800s, Lloyds of London wouldn’t insure a ship that sets sail on Friday the 13th. And the US Navy still doesn’t launch a ship on Friday the 13th.
If your name has 13 letters—Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, even Judas Iscariot!—you might have the “devil’s luck.” But why the big fear of Number 13, especially Friday the 13th? The NatGeo article lists 7 reasons:
1. The crucifixion of Jesus was on a Friday, and Judas Iscariot is the 13th man at the Last Supper the night before.
2. King Philip IV of France ordered the arrest of thousands of Knights Templar on October 13, 1307, a Friday the 13th.
3. Friday, the Thirteenth is the title of a popular novel published in 1907.
4. In Norse mythology, having 13 people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners (possibly related to the Last Supper).
5. Number 12 is associated with perfection or completion (12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles, 12 hours of the clock), so Number 13 is the number for imperfection.
6. On October 13, 1989, a Friday the 13th, the American stock market suffered its biggest crash since the 1929 Great Crash which ushered in the Great Depression of the 1930s.
7. NASA’s Apollo 13 mission in April 1970 almost didn’t make it back to earth.
8. You might have been watching too many Friday the 13th movies (my own hunch).
But the Number 13 might not be so unlucky. Here are 4 reasons why not to fear:
1. A study published by the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics showed that fewer accidents, fire and theft occur on Friday the 13th, compared with other Fridays.
2. Taylor Swift celebrated her 13th + 11th birthday on December 13, 2013.
3. There were 13 colonies which formed the original United States of America, symbolized by the original 13 stripes in the flag.
And here’s the clincher for Christians:
4. Christians, celebrate every Friday the 13th! Who knows, the walls of Jericho might have crashed down on a Friday the 13th after Joshua and the Israelites marched around the city 13 times (Jos 6:3-4).