MANILA, Philippines - Did you know that fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia, while those who are afraid of the number 13 suffer from triskaidekaphobia?
As we mark today the first Friday the 13th of 2012, here are some interesting facts about the superstitiously unlucky day:
- Friday the 13th is set to creep up two more times this year -- in April and in July. The most times that the 13th will fall on a Friday in any given calendar is three, while the longest period without it is 14 months.
- Fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, California, friggatriskaidekaphobia affects 17 to 21 million Americans.
- Fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia. The number is said to be unlucky because it follows the number 12, which is widely considered as a complete number -- 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, and 12 apostles of Jesus, among others.
- Several buildings here and in other parts of the globe do not have a 13th floor, while some hospitals and airline terminals avoid rooms and gates which are numbered 13.
- Hollywood has capitalized on the Friday the 13th phobia. "Friday the 13th" the movie was released in 1980 and a remake was shown in theaters in 2009.
- On April 13, 2029, a Friday, the asteroid 99942 will make its closest encounter with earth.
- US President Franklin Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would not host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and US President Herbert Hoover were also said to suffer from triskaidekaphobia.
- In Paris, one can hire a quatorzieme, or a professional 14th guest, to remove the so-called bad luck brought by the number 13 as well as Friday the 13th.
- Friday the 13th may not be as unlucky as people think. A 2008 Dutch study showed that fewer car accidents, fires and crimes occur on the said day, especially since superstitious would-be victims make an effort to stay out of harm's way. According to CNBC, the US market has been up 80 times out of the past 140 occasions when the 13th of a month landed on a Friday.