By Lia Blanchard
Today is the third and last Friday the 13th of 2012… and don’t they say that bad things always come in threes? That’s pretty ominous, if you believe in such things.
How did Friday the 13th become a day of ill repute?
Friday’s reputation was ruined for Christians by being the day of the week on which Jesus was crucified, and possibly the day Eve tempted Adam with the apple, and the day Cain slew Abel. For everyone else, the day was ruined by Rebecca Black’s 2011 song.
The number 13 presents all sorts of “evidence” that it’s unlucky. It was the 13th guest at the Last Supper – Judas – who betrayed Jesus. The 13th guest at a dinner party in Valhalla – Loki – killed the Viking god Balder the Beautiful, destroying joy and gladness. In ancient Rome, it was believed that witches gathered in groups of 12, and the 13th “guest” was the devil.
Triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13 – is very prevalent in our society. Most tall buildings don’t have a floor labeled “13”. Most airports don’t have a 13th gate, and most hospitals and hotels don’t have a room 13.
What are you doing (or not doing) today?
Many people will not travel, work, or even get out of bed on Friday the 13th.
If the 13th of the month falling on a Friday makes you nervous, maybe you can counteract it with some good luck. Even the earliest known human civilizations employed particular objects to ward off evil, draw in good fortune, heal the sick, or grant wishes. In modern Western culture, rabbits’ feet, four-leaf clovers, and a horseshoe are common symbols of good luck. Here are a few from other parts of the world.
- Alligator teeth: Used in African-American mojo bags for increasing luck in gambling.
- Amber: Ancient Greeks believed amber to be a piece of our sun, bringing good fortune with it. Imagine their surprise when, in 600 B.C. Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus discovered how to use amber to create an electrical spark!
- Hand: Most Mediterranean countries have a hand-shaped symbol of good luck, although the hand itself may be in different positions.
If someone you know needs a little extra luck, why not send them a horseshoe or gift basket with well wishes? Even if you’re not triskaidekaphobic, letting someone know that you’re thinking of them – maybe make a little deposit in the karma bank – is always a good thing, right?