For most of us, Friday the 13th is just a day to roll our eyes. But there's actually a lot of money being made and lost on this three-times-a-year heebee jeebee fest. Jillian Seaton explains.
Even though they only occur up to 3 times a year at most, Fridays occurring on the 13th of the month are notorious. Though superstitions may seem silly, many take them quite seriously. Even large-scale hotels will tend to omit the existence of a 13th floor all together, opting instead for a 12, 12A, 14, or skipping from 12 to 14 completely. But why? It’s just a number, and just a day, right?
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of Friday the 13th, also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia, making it the most feared day and date in history. Some people are so paralyzed by this fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. According to Doctor Donald Dossey of the Stress Management and Phobia Institute,
“It’s been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day.”
That’s a pretty hefty sum of money, if you ask me. But what is it exactly that makes people dread this day to such an extreme extent?
Honestly – we aren’t 100% certain. Theories stemming from the last supper, the Stock Market crash, numerology, and even our favorite required high school reading, The Canterbury Tales, float around; however, according to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century.
One common theory holds that the superstition is really a modern mixture of two older superstitions, claiming thirteen as an unlucky number and Friday as an unlucky day. That’s right – the one day of the workweek we look forward to and anticipate more than any other is actually a doomed day of bad fortune. How do you like them apples?
Let’s not get bent out of shape over this, though. Granted, I grew up having a black cat as a pet/stand in best friend until I was 9 years old and have always thought skulls are pretty, so maybe I’m a little on the creepy side to begin with – but superstitious days can be fun! If we can’t find a way to sleep through it or avoid it, why not make the most of it?
Hollywood has been feeding off the Friday the 13th superstition for years ranging from Black Sabbath’s debut album to the classic Friday the 13th horror slasher series, in which five of the twelve total films (including the most recent edition released in 2009), all having release dates on a Friday the 13th. Gimmicky, sure, but fun, right?
2012 is no exception! Today, the horror/comedy The Cabin in the Woods, starring Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon makes its debut at Regal Henrietta, Culver Ridge, Greece Ridge, and Eastview, AMC Loews Webster, and Tinseltown, sure to pack theatres full with Friday the 13th scream-seekers and popcorn lovers alike.
This Friday the 13th, don’t hide under your covers! Grab your favorite black cat, smash a mirror, walk under a ladder, open an umbrella indoors, and check out some cheap cinematic thrills! After all, it’s all in good fun – right?