The scam of Friday 13th
Dear Friday the 13th.
You don’t scare me! I have other things to worry about, like this salt I just spilled.
Bravely yours, Ginger.
Superstitions are funny things. The fact that today is Friday the 13th has been mentioned all over the social media sites. I even ran across this site with 5 songs about superstitions. Since Friday the 13th is going to roll around 3 times in 2012, exactly 13 weeks apart incidentally, I thought I’d find out what all the fuss is about and see if I could get to the bottom of this. So, in the effort of procrastination research, I Googled it.
I found this tidbit from this Wikipedia site:
The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen), or paraskevidekatriaphobia a concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning “thirteen”) attached to phobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning “fear”). The latter word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953.
What in TARNATION does all that gobblygook mean? You don’t know either? Thank goodness. I’ll search further then.
From this urban legends site I found these facts about the number 13 and Friday:
Legend has it: If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894). Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don’t have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil’s luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names). There are 13 witches in a coven.
This sounds a bit wishy-washy to me. I even read that the fear of the number 13 may have roots reaching back as far as ancient civilization and the act of counting. Apparently the primitive man (and surely not woman ~grin~) only had his 10 fingers and 2 feet with which to count, so 12 was the highest number. Anything beyond was unfathomable and mysterious and therefore an object of fear. This begs the question … did he not have toes?
The fear of Friday has some interesting facts and origins.
Some say Friday’s bad reputation goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. Adam bit, as we all learned in Sunday School, and they were both ejected from Paradise. Tradition also holds that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday; and, of course, Friday was the day of the week on which Christ was crucified. It is therefore a day of penance for Christians.
If that is enough proof for you that Friday is Bad, you might want to take notes on the following warnings.
Legend has it: Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams. If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow. Don’t start a trip on Friday or you will encounter misfortune. Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck, as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday. One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell the longstanding superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned and given the name “H.M.S. Friday.” They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday, and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday — and was never seen or heard from again.
Interestingly enough, I read that in Spanish-speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th (martes trece) is considered a day of bad luck. The Greeks also consider Tuesday (and especially the 13th) to be an unlucky day. Tuesday is considered to be dominated by the influence of Ares (Mars), the God of war.
Anyone else feel all of this is a bit of a stretch? While I do find all of this interesting, I’m still not afraid of Friday the 13th. Why? Because I don’t like to let something I can’t control have power over me. Every week, Friday is going to roll around. Every month, we’re going to have a 13th day. In 2012, we are apparently going to have 3 times where these two things collide and send legions into fear and apoplexy. No, I’d rather be ornery and stubborn and decide that Friday the 13th is indeed lucky and fun. Or maybe it’s just another day like Monday the 3rd or Thursday the 25th.
In the effort of full disclosure, I do happen to be a superstition person, just not about Friday the 13th.
–I’m not sure about the whole spilling salt thing and the devil over your shoulder, but you never know, so I ere on the side of caution. I don’t even have to spill the salt, I just throw a salt over my left shoulder for good measure. Guaranteed to get in the eye of the devil should he be there and give me more to vacuum off my kitchen floor besides dog hair.
–I never open an umbrella inside. Apparently it curses the whole house. This sounds overly dramatic but I’m not taking any chances.
–Never walk under a ladder. I didn’t know why this was bad so a quick Google search shows that apparently the triangle the ladder forms represents the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) and to walk under it shows a disbelief in the Holy Trinity and aligns you with Satan. Well, that can’t be good at all! I think I’ll continue to avoid these ladder bridges. At the very least, should the ladder break at an inopportune moment, I might get taken down and how embarrassing!
–Breaking a mirror brings seven years bad luck. Apparently it represents you breaking your soul, or that your soul will be trapped inside the broken mirror pieces. That sounds quite ominous. But apparently if you happen to break a mirror, you can counteract the curse by grinding the pieces to dust, obliterating any reflection and burying it. Well, that will give you a good workout, so all is not lost and you might even get your soul back.
–Knocking on wood when you say something that might temp fate is said to ward off evil spirits. Now that just makes good sense! 🙂
What you about all? Are you superstitious? Tell me about them.