I don’t recall hearing of this word before, but interestingly enough, I knew its meaning; a fear of the number 13. To be clear, the fear of Friday the 13th is another long word altogether – paraskevidekatriaphobia.
Disclaimer: I’m not a very superstitious person by nature – but sometimes I prefer to hedge my bets and not tempt the gods.
Why did this superstition get started? Ah, a curious spirit – welcome to the rabbit holes.
History’s first known record of this fear was in the middle ages. And why not. There was so much trouble about, much of it seeming to stem from mysterious and inexplicable causes; life was ripe for superstitions to fill the vacuum of knowledge.
Tarot cards have been around since the mid-1400s, with one of the trump cards, representing death, frequently numbered 13.
Religion was turned to for an explanation of the unexplainable.
At least since 1774, 13 at a table foretold that one of the eaters must die in the next year. My, my, where could that have come from? Look no further than Jesus at the Last Supper. Twelve disciples plus one more – Jesus.
For a change of pace, let’s look at some historical events. I keep in mind that over 700 years or so, there had to be some interesting coincidences.
On Friday, October 12, 1307, the Knights Templar were ordered arrested by Philip IV of France. Given the first two numbers of that century, maybe everybody had a bad year.
Apollo 13 was launched at 13:13 CST and experienced a tank explosion. It safely returned a few days later. Why wouldn’t that event cause us to think 13 was a lucky number? Just saying.
October 13, 1989, was the date of a mini-stock market crash.
Here’s the one I like best. For those who live in the land of leprechauns, the first 2 digits of vehicle license plates stand for the year of issue. 2013 was a looming problem. Car dealers thought everybody would wait a year before buying a new car. After country-wide consultation, they decided that plates purchased in the first 6 months would start with 131 and those in the last 6 months would begin with 132. I wonder if some folks still decided to wait a year rather than tempt their gods.
Please give this a bit of a think. What is a superstition you have? When do you ignore it? When do you prefer to hedge your bet? How did your superstition first come into your life?
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.
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