Welcome to the 13 Days of Halloween
It’s Friday the 13th and I’m currently writing this post from under my bed surrounded by various items of luck which include (but are not limited to) a rabbit’s foot, 4 leaf clover, horseshoe, a penny I found “head’s up”, and a couple of ladybugs that I trapped in a jar. The lights are off, blinds are closed, and I’m surrounded by a ring of salt–don’t worry, I tossed a little over my shoulder.
Just kidding! I love Friday the 13th
and, apparently, so does this guy.
So, here’s the question: if one loves all things Halloween, should it then be assumed that they also love Friday the 13th? I mean, do the two walk hand-in-hand in the land of dark and twisty? Truth is, Friday the 13th isn’t necessarily spooky or scary, but it certainly does its job in freaking many people out.
In fact, having an irrational fear of Friday the 13th is actually a phobia . . . and it can be incapacitating . . .
Now, before you start climbing atop the soapbox and wagging a disapproving finger at my assumed callousness toward people with phobias, know this: I have my fair share of phobias as well. For example, this (Jen don’t look) and this–oh yeah–and this . . . Gah!!! There, happy? Crispy Wheat and Raisins, I am freaked right now. Anywho, for this post, we’re going to have a little bit of fun . . . you know what? I don’t think I’ll tell you. Let’s just let the post unfold in all its chaotic splendor.
Thirteen Ways the (Unlucky) Number 13 has Effected the World
- In the US, many cities don’t have a 13th street.
- Italians exclude #13 from their lottery.
- In Florence, house numbers go like this: 12, 12 1/2, 14.
- Researchers in Sweden claim the country is a more risky place to be on Friday the 13th.
- Many airports don’t have a 13th gate or a 13th aisle.
- 80% of high rises don’t have a 13th floor.
- Many hospitals and hotels don’t have room #13.
- If you have 13 numbers in your name, you’re considered to have the luck of the devil.
- Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13 (and the cause of paraskevidekatriaphobia)
- Judas was the 13th guest at the Last Supper and is the one who betrayed Jesus . . . some believe the fear of 13 stems from this.
- Over 60 million people claim to be scared of Friday the 13th. There are some who won’t go to work, get in cars or even get out of bed on this day.
Thirteen Superstitions of Misfortune
Well-known superstitions thought to bring bad luck:
- If a cute, little black kitty crosses your path, prepare to face the frightful consequences. When these lovable furballs became synonymous with witches and witchcraft, their stock plummeted.
- Walking under a ladder. See, if a ladder is open, or leaning against something, it forms the shape of a triangle–the Holy Trinity also forms the shape of a triangle. Apparently, in the early days of Christianity, Christians believed that walking under a ladder was an insult to the Holy Trinity and misfortune was sure to befall them
- Breaking a mirror will bring you seven year’s bad luck. This one can be traced back to early Roman times and witch doctors who would determine if a patient was ill by their reflection in a mirror plate filled with water. Distorted reflection meant you were ill, and if the mirror cracked, well then you’d be sick for seven years.
- Opening an umbrella indoors. This superstition comes from Victorian times when the mechanical umbrella was all shiny and new . . . and apparently dangerous. People would open them up and sometimes cause injury to themselves or break something nearby.
- Spilling the salt was actually bad table manners that morphed into a superstition of bad luck. You see, back in the day, salt was an expensive commodity, and if you spilled some, there could be hell to pay.
- Friday the 13th: it is said that this one originated with Early Christians as it was the day Christ was crucified.
- The number 13: Romans believed this number to signify death.
- The groom seeing the bride before the wedding day is considered bad luck because it was thought that if the bride saw the groom, she would get cold feet. This one is thought to have originated back when most marriages were prearranged.
Lesser known (at least to me) superstitions that bring bad luck:
- Green cars: The color green is associated with tree sprites and fairies that were believed to steal people. A more modern superstition is that green cars break down more than any other color (this has never been proven).
- Don’t put new shoes on the table: putting shoes on a table signifies death. This was a common practice with coal miners. If a coal miner died, their shoes were placed on a table to honor them.
- Seeing a single magpie as a sign of misfortune originated in the 16th century and a popular child’s nursery rhyme. Seeing only one stood for sorrow.
- Seeing a hearse: There are numerous superstitions connected with seeing a hearse, but the one I’m going to bring attention to dates all the way back to the horse-drawn hearses. It was a common belief that if you saw a hearse, you would be the next to die.
- It is said to be bad luck to place a hat on a bed. This is because evil spirits were believed to live in one’s hair thus transferring evil spirits from hair to hat to bed.
Ways to Survive Friday the 13th
- If you spill salt– throw some over your right shoulder for luck.
- If you encounter a single magpie, show it a sign of respect.
- Rabbit’s foot: it is believed that keeping a part of the animal on your person will give you that animal’s abilities.
- Horseshoe: because horseshoes were made of iron, they were believed to ward off evil spirits and witches.
- Four-leaf clover: because of the rarity of finding one (1-1000), it was considered a good omen when one was found. There are variations to this superstition that can be found here.
- Lady Bug: this one stems from the ladybugs’ positive influence on pest control. Farmer’s need them to help keep pest populations down.
- Finding a penny and picking it up: there are a few superstitions that go with this superstition. One is that metal was a gift from the gods and given to man as protection against evil spirits.
But if you’re like me, and enjoy a good Friday the 13th, gather your witches and take to the sky!
Until next time . . .
Happy Friday the 13th