It's Friday the 13th: Are you watching your step?
It's Friday the 13th. And chances are, you fall into one of two categories. Either you are not the superstitious type and you barely noticed this day-and-date lineup. Or the combination of such an ominous number, 13, falling on such a symbolic day, Friday, has you at home cowering under the covers.
If you fall into the latter category, you might suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, which is no joke. It is a recognized phobia that can lead to a near crippling fear of Friday the 13th.
Superstition surrounds Friday the 13th, although its origins are unclear. Some cultures believe that 13 is an unlucky number, and that Friday is an unlucky day, so when you put them together, disaster is sure to strike.
Others believe the black cloud that floats over this day on the calendar can be traced back to Christian symbolism. Christ was crucified on a Friday, and Jesus and his disciples totaled 13 in all. Others say it dates back to pre-Christian times, when 13 was the accepted number of witches in a coven.
And of course, Jason, from the "Friday the 13th" slasher films, isn't helping matters.
There are plenty of people who will say such numerology is hooey. Others, meanwhile, will avoid doing certain things on Friday the 13th -- travel, for example, or embarking on a big business deal -- for fear of a dark jinx. We've all heard of people who don't want to stay on the 13th floor of a hotel.
And really, who wants to buy a house with No. 13 on the front door?
Unfortunately, for suffers of paraskevidekatriaphobia, 2012 will bring two more Fridays that fall on the 13th, in April and July. That's the bad news. The good news? The next time there are three Friday the 13ths in one year will be 2026, calendar watchers say.
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Photo: Got a case of the Friday the 13th jitters? Blame it in part on Jason Voorhees, the hockey-mask wearing star of the "Friday the 13th" horror film franchise. (James Dittiger / New Line Cinema)