2013-09-12 / Editorial

Superstition rules on Friday the 13th

Don’t walk under a ladder or spill salt or allow a black cat to cross your path this Friday – as it will be the 13th day of the month!

Tomorrow is Friday, Sept. 13, a day that many superstitious folks consider unlucky. Some people will not go to work. Others will refuse to get out of bed. Some will refrain from flying in an airplane or riding in a car, let alone starting any sort of a trip.

Some say that if a funeral procession crosses your path on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die. Others argue that if you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die. A child born on Friday the 13th will have bad luck for life! If you break a mirror on Friday the 13th, you will have seven years of bad luck.

The phobia, known as friggatriskaidekaphobia, is one that is rooted in ancient history and religion. An estimated 17 million to 21 million people suffer from a fear of Friday the 13th, says a stress management institute. According to history scholars, the cursed day combines the number 13 and Friday, which by themselves are thought to be unlucky. Combine the two you have one major unlucky event.

By itself, the number 13 has been considered unlucky since early times. Many public buildings and high rises do not have 13th floors. Hotel rooms skip the number 13. Airports leave out gate 13.

The number was cursed due to a myth that if 12 people dine together, one will die within the year. It is based on a Norse legend. Eleven friends of the god Odin were enjoying a banquet when the 12-person dinner was interrupted by the 13th person, Loki, the god of evil and turmoil. Also consider the Last Supper, that Jesus and his 12 apostles dined together before his crucifiction.

Friday is also considered an unlucky day. Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” says that Friday is a day of misfortune and bad luck. Friday has long been considered a poor day to start a journey or start a new project or get married.

There have been several studies conducted to determine whether Friday the 13th is indeed an unlucky day. The results haved been mixed without any real concrete determinations.

What can you do to ward off back luck on Friday the 13th?

One psychologist recommends thinking positive thoughts during the day. And don’t start a journey or break a mirror! Be sure to stay away from black cats.

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