Friday the 13th doesn’t come around too often, so when it does it always seems to make that given Friday even more interesting (or a day to be extra cautious depending on how superstitious you are!). Around the world, many countries see Friday the 13th as an unlucky day…even in Germany where the people are oh so practical. Although I doubt people here take it as seriously as in the US, where according to a study by the North Carolina Stress Management Centre and Phobia Institute, approximately 17-21 million people suffer from a fear of Friday the 13th! There’s even a name for this phobia called, friggatriskaidekaphobia (good thing that word never showed up on my spelling tests back in middle school).
Anyway, I’ll leave you guys with some interesting Friday the 13th facts and superstitions! (Yes there’s 13 of them!)
1. In North America (and possibly other places around the world) the number 13 is thought to bring such bad luck that many cities don’t have a 13th Street, apartments don’t have a 13th floor, hospitals avoid labelling rooms with number 13 and airports don’t have a gate 13.
2. For Christians, Friday the 13th is unlucky because Friday was the day Jesus was crucified. Since there were 13 people at The Last Supper (Judas was the 13th guest), the number is believed to bring bad luck.
3. The ship HMS Friday sailed on Friday the 13th during the 18th century. It was never discovered…and since then, ships rarely sail on that date.
4. Apparently if you have 13 letters in your name, it mans you will have the devil’s luck, like Jack the Ripper. Luckily my name has 11 letters…phew!
5. In China, there’s no Friday the 13th, but they view the number four as an unlucky number because it sounds so similar to the word for death. As a result, many buildings don’t have a 4th floor…or even the 14th, 24th, 34th, and all the 40s!
6. In the 19th century, English men avoided eating salads if they wanted to start a family because lettuce was seen as detrimental to child-bearing.
7. In Vietnam, students avoid eating bananas during exam time because they’re slippery and the Vietnamese word for “slip” sounds like their word for “fail.”
8. In France, it’s good luck to step in dog poop with your left foot, and bad luck to step in it with your right foot. Who knew there could be something positive to come out from stepping in poop?
9. This is a cute one from Sweden…apparently the manhole covers are all marked with K (Swedish for fresh water…also love) or A (for sewage…and also broken love). Some locals plan their travels accordingly, walking around or swerving around the A manhole covers in fear of a bad love life!
Here’s a few German ones!
10. According to The Local, in Germany, you should never say “cheers” or “Prost” (In German) with water in Germany…which means that you’re wishing death on your friends. While I haven’t heard of that one before, I have heard that making eye contact when toasting is a must…or else you’ll get seven years of bad sex. Future Oktoberfest goers, you’ve been warned!
11. In Germany, rather than clapping, people knock on the table instead. Apparently the legend is that the Stammtisch (regular’s table in the tavern) was traditionally made of oak. The devil is unable to touch oak, so knocking on it proved that you weren’t the devil. This one is funny since in uni here, sometimes I forget about the knocking, and accidentally let out a few claps after a presentation or lecture.
12. Giving a German knives as a gift means you’re wishing death on their household! Maybe a nice bottle of wine or box of chocolates then? No one seems to evercomplain about those!
13. And here’s one last superstition for us travellers! Apparently if you start your trip on a Friday the 13th, you’ll encounter misfortune.
I haven’t….yet. Have you guys?