Friday the 13th | ALC Training News

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This week’s unlucky day is the first of three for 2015.  Each year has at least one Friday the 13th, but there can be as many as three. 2012 was the last year with three Friday the 13ths; the next will be 2026.

Friday the 13th, also known as Black Friday in some countries, is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition. It occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday. There is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century, and the superstition only gained widespread distribution in the 20th century. The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: triskadekaphobia; and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”).

 

Popular Myths and Superstitions

Whether there is any merit to the superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th will remain uncertain, but that will not stop millions of people across the world from worrying about the unlucky day.

There are a number of popular myths and superstitions surrounding the day, most famously:

  • If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die.
  • If a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die.
  • Do not start a trip on Friday or you will encounter misfortune.
  • If you break a mirror on Friday the 13th, you will have seven years of bad luck.
  • A child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life.
  • Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck.
  • If you walk under a ladder or if a black cat crosses you on Friday the 13th, you will have bad luck.

There has also been a longstanding myth that if 13 people dine together, one will die within a year. The myth comes from both the Last Supper, when Jesus dined with the 12 Apostles prior to his death, and a popular Norse myth, in which 11 close friends of the god Odin dine together only to have the 12-person party crashed by a 13th person, Loki, the god of evil and turmoil.

 

Deb Kirman