Friday the 13th: All the strange superstitions from around the world

Yahoo Style UK team
Friday the 13th is widely believed to be the unluckiest date in the calendar [Photo: Pexels]
Friday the 13th is widely believed to be the unluckiest date in the calendar [Photo: Pexels]

Happy Friday the 13th! Yes, today is the date that fills even the most sceptical of people with a little dread (whether they own up to it, or not).

But as we spend the forthcoming hours avoiding ladders and dodging drains, let’s take a moment to reflect on where our superstitions derive from.

Why Friday the 13th?

The first pejorative mentions of the number thirteen date back to the Bible, as Christians believe that Judas (who betrayed Jesus Christ) was the thirteenth guest to attend the Last Supper. As a consequence, many of us still avoid inviting thirteen people to a dinner party.

And Friday hasn’t exactly got a good reputation in the religious scriptures either, as Good Friday marked Jesus’ crucifixion. The day also eventually became known as Hangman’s Day in the UK, as a consequence to it being the day most were condemned to death.

How often does Friday the 13th occur?

At least once a year, we encounter Friday the 13th whether we like it or not. It can even happen up to three times. And those who are superstitious won’t be pleased to learn that we will have to endure two Friday the 13th’s per year until 2020. Bad luck.

Has anything bad actually happened on Friday the 13th?

Though some refuse to believe that Friday the 13th is an unlucky date, there are reported tragedies which fuel the beliefs of many.

For instance, Buckingham Palace was bombed on Friday 13th of September 1940 during the Blitz while rapper Tupac was murdered on the very date back in 1996.

Buckingham Palace was bombed during the Blitz on Friday 13th [Photo: Getty]
Buckingham Palace was bombed during the Blitz on Friday 13th [Photo: Getty]

And one particularly poignant event occurred back in 1976. New Yorker Daz Baxter stayed in his apartment on Friday 13th, as he believed this would be where he was safest. However, he was killed later that day when the floor of his apartment collapsed.

Strange Friday the 13th superstitions from across the globe

Fearing today’s supposedly unlucky date is known as ‘paraskevidekatriaphobia’ and Friday the 13th superstitions vary across the globe.

In South Korea for instance, it is believed that if you go to sleep with your fan on, you could die from hypothermia. While in India, many believe that you should always remain indoors during a solar eclipse. It is widely believed that the sun’s rays become toxic during the rare phenomenon.

Friday 13th superstitions
In India, it is widely believed that you should remain indoors during a solar eclipse [Photo: Getty]

Over in Argentina, if someone utters the surname of the former president Carlos Menem, women touch their left breast while men reach for their left testicle. It is believed to ward off bad luck, as the country holds Menem accountable for the economic crash of 2001.

And next time you’re in Germany, try not to cheers using a glass of water as it is widely believed that you are wishing death on everyone present. Not a great way to kickstart a celebratory drinks, right?

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