The unluckiest day of all

KATHMANDU: There are many superstitions people believe in, although people don’t have logical explanations for those beliefs. In western countries the most popular and probably the most interesting superstition is the one related to Friday the 13th. When 13th of any months falls on Friday people refrain themselves from carrying any business, some people don’t even take a flight on this day.

The interesting aspect of this day is that it combines two different phobias — the fear of number 13 and the day Friday. The fear of Friday the 13th is termed as paraskavedekatriaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia, while the fear of number 13 is known as triskaidekaphobia.

There are various myths and folklore related to these two phobias, here are few of them:

Fear of number 13

• According to a Norse myth 12 gods were having a feast in Valhalla when mischievous Loki came in as uninvited 13th guest. He even arranged for the

blind god of darkness,

Hod to shoot the god of

joy and gladness Baldur with a mistletoe-tipped

arrow. This killed Baldur and the Earth was plunged into darkness due to mourning.

• As per the bible Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.

• It is also believed that in ancient Rome witches gathered in groups of 12 with one devil adding up the group to number 13.

Fear of Friday

• Christians are bit apprehensive of Friday as Jesus was crucified on this day.

• Some theologians also believe that it was Friday when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.

Fear of Friday the 13th

The Grand Master of the Knights Templar Jacques de Molay was arrested by King Philip IV of France on Friday October 13, 1307. Thousands of knights were arrested and tortured that day and finally executed. Thus Friday the 13th started being considered as unlucky day or evil day.

Worldwide practices

• In Scotland, there is no gate 13 in any airport; instead there is a gate 12B.

• Lufthansa planes’ row numbers go straight from 12 to 14.

• Many buildings in western countries skip 13th floor the numbering is done either as 14 or 12 a. Meanwhile streets in Florence

in Italy don’t have house number 13.

• There is no number 13 car in Formula One.

• There is a belief that if thirteen people sit at a table to dine one of them will die the next year.

• Apollo 13 spacecraft which was launched on April 11 at 13:13 experienced malfunction and had to return to Earth without landing in moon.

• Socialites in France

who were known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) used to make themselves as the 14th guest to keep any dinner party from being unlucky.

• Microsoft Corp chairman Bill Gates lost his title as the richest man in the world after being at the spot for 13 years.

• The makers of online game Kingdom of Loathing avoid number 13 in all of their programming.