Posted 13 April
Today it's Friday the 13th. Some of us will consider this day best dealed with by staying in bed, fearing what this day has planned for us. Better safe than sorry. But why is Friday the 13th considered to be one of the unluckiest days of the year?
From walking under ladders, spotting black cats and finding a lone magpie, there're many superstitions, that shroud this day in mystery. Actually, there are so many urban legends and half-truths out there, that very little is known about the true origin of this fear for Friday the 13th. Some sources say the superstition around this day originates from the story of Jesus' last supper and crucifixion, in which there were 13 individuals present at the Last Supper on the 13th.
Did you know that fear of Friday the 13th is also called Friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia? This definition comes from the the Norse goddess of wisdom "Frigg", after whom Friday is named, the Greek word triskaideka, meaning "13" and of course "phobia" meaning fear. Fear for Friday the 13th has a global reach and many people rather skip this day. Losses are faced by businesses this day, romantic dates are doomed, better take saltless food (don't spill salt), to the extent that apparently especially airlines suffer on this day. Even though flights are generally significantly cheaper on this day.
Another account suggests that the superstition surrounding Friday the 13th is linked to Norse mythology. The legend tells that there were 12 gods at a banquet at Valhalla when a demi-god of mischief who was not invited turned up. Not only being the 13th guest but also responsible for the chaos that led to the death of one of the good gods.
For the people that consider Friday the 13th unlucky, this day has big consequences and it's more about what they avoid doing (taboos) rather than what they do on this day.
A peculiar historic fun fact that happened in the 1930s-40s is that the inhabitants of Indiana made sure that all black cats wore a bell around their neck every Friday the 13th, ordered to do so by a town board decree. Making it easier to avoid black cats on this day. In order not to deal with two superstitions at the same time, assuming now you hear the cats approach... If the cats don't use one paw to hold the bell to keep it from ringing ;-)
Considering the fact that today is a Friday, close to the weekend and you may already have worked the whole week... don't yawn! In ancient times they believed that the devil made people yawn so he could gain entry into their body and take possession of their soul. So, if you must yawn remember to cover you mouth. But wait with being tired for a while, we'd suggest you turn this day in something positive. Because for at least one area of business, Friday the 13th is a great success and that is the movie & entertainment sector. Who isn't familiar with the horror movies themed around Friday the 13th? So, organise a theme night. Horror movie marathon anyone!?!