Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the Thirteenth

If you’re superstitious, then you probably believe that today is going to be a bad day.  It could be unlucky at the least.

For me, it’s just another day.

There is, however, a 1993 study published in the British Medical Journal provocatively titled "Is Friday the 13th Bad for Your Health?"

With the aim of mapping "the relation between health, behavior, and superstition surrounding Friday 13th in the United Kingdom," the authors compared the ratio of traffic volume to the number of automobile accidents on two different days, Friday the 6th and Friday the 13th, over a period of years.

Surprisingly, while consistently fewer people chose to drive their cars on Friday the 13th, the number of hospital admissions due to vehicular accidents was significantly higher than on "normal" Fridays. Their conclusion:
"Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended."

The sixth day of the week (Friday) and the number 13 both have negative reputations dating back to ancient times. For some, the fact that Friday the 13th occurs from one to three times a year (there will be three such occurrences in 2012 – January, April & July, exactly 13 weeks apart), symbolizes more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear.
Paraskevidekatriaphobics is the term for people afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. According to some sources it's the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date.

It’s estimated that as many as 21 million people fear this day. That’s no fewer than eight percent of Americans.

For me, it’s just another Friday – get the weekend started.

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