FRIDAY THE 13th By Christina Applebaum Why does everyone think Friday the 13th is unlucky? Well, alright maybe not everyone but enough people that there is a name for people who fear it. [ It's real - I looked it up ] Ready? It's called.... Paraskevidekatriaphobia -OR- Fear of Friday the Thirteenth. I know it's a mouthful so maybe this will help: pair- uh - SKEV (like kev, in kevin) - vee - day - CAT - tree - uh - FOE - bee - uh The term is based on the Greek words paraskevi ('Friday') and dekatria ('thirteen') with -phobia as a suffix to indicate 'fear'. According to phobia specialist (and coiner of the term paraskevidekatriaphobia) Dr. Donald Dossey, it's the most widespread superstition in the United States today.Those of us who would be reluctant to choose Friday 13th for anything important can be referred to as paraskevidekatriaphobes or paraskevidekatriaphobics. How Real Is This Fear? Various polls over the last decade reveal that anywhere from 8 percent to 15 percent of Americans take into account Friday the 13th when planning their day. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C., U.S. companies will lose $800 million to $900 million in business owing to paraskevidekatriaphobes who refuse to travel or go to work on Friday the 13th. The fear is real enough and widespread enough that towns and cities all across America have no 13th Street or 13th Avenue, many major airlines have no Row 13 on their planes, and it is common for hotels to have no 13th floor. [which is silly if you ask me because you know the one after the 12th is the 13th whether they call it the 14th or not - right?] It turns out that because surperstition is exactly that [superstitious] irrational and abstract by definition, despite my best efforts to enlighten you on the origins of peoples beliefs about this particular day, I am finding it very difficult to explain how and why Friday the 13th became synonymous with bad luck. It seems you could ask 100 people and get as many answers. The most common theme I could find while trying to research the origins of this superstition was the belief the Fridays are considered are unlucky and the number 13 is considered unlucky. So more or less Friday + 13 = Extra Unlucky. Not very scientific I know.