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Superstitions, Happy 13th!

 Written by    September 13, 2013

Did you know that the fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia? Oh, you don’t know how to say that? Yeah, me neither.

I had a professor today give a pop-quiz because it was Friday the 13th. The pop-writing assignment had nothing to do with the superstition. He just used it as a holiday excuse to give us a pop-quiz. Is that legal?


Anyway, it got me thinking about Friday the 13th and how I know NOTHING about why it’s a big deal, but I still find myself scared of it. I even know there is a movie, but have never seen it in fear of it being an hour and a half of my life I may want back … Yet here I am, doing research and sharing with you my findings and thoughts.

First, the fear of Friday the 13th, also known friggatisigoierngekanlaefvneifvhjiogveafnvgeghrnergjhrioagjphobia (right?), comes from a Westernized idea that its an incredibly unlucky day because 13 is an unlucky number and Friday is an unlucky day. So why is that? Well twelve is a number of completeness (12 months, 12-hour clock, 12 zodiac signs, and more). According to About.com, “it has been proposed that fears surrounding the number 13 are as ancient as the act of counting. Primitive man had only his 10 fingers and two feet to represent units, this explanation goes, so he could count no higher than 12. What lay beyond that — 13 — was an impenetrable mystery to our prehistoric forebears, hence an object of superstition.” CRAZY.

As for Friday, it’s unlucky in the Canterbury Tales, in the Christian religion Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and many more reasons.

So the combination of the two superstitions makes Friday the 13th one of the worst days to even go outside. And if you think about it, a good majority of the people believe in these superstitions, whether they want to admit it or not. Granted, you have that group of people that dedicate their personalities to not buying into superstitions and have practiced their “I-could-care-less speech” in the mirror. But, again, the majority of us catch ourselves sweating if we knock over a shaker of salt. Here are some of the other superstitions. Some I knew, but some I was like “whaaaat?”

I knew:

– Black cats crossing your path, big uh-oh
– DO NOT walk under ladders
– Good luck horseshoes
– Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue for weddings
– Opening umbrellas indoors
– Knocking over salt shakers and then throwing it over your shoulder
– Shooting Stars
– Knock on Wood
– Friday the 13th

Some I didn’t know and question just a little:

– Bird Poop means good fortune?
– Sweeping your new house with a new broom is bad luck?
– Having itchy palms means your destined to be greedy for money?
– Groaning cheese for a newborn? (This one’s interesting, read here)
– You cannot light 3 cigarettes with one match?

All very interesting things that we ALL subconsciously think about. Especially the knocking on wood, crossing your fingers, avoiding walking under ladders, wishing on 11:11 or shooting stars, and getting your beloved friend a gift on her wedding day. Even the most skeptics of skeptics find themselves thinking twice about superstitions when they occur. And I found that incredibly interesting today. It’s like it’s natural or innate or something.

Think about it, would you set your wedding day on Friday the 13th?


Author, Personal, Research, Stress, Student Life

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