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Did You Survive Friday?

(Friday the 13th, that is)

January 17, 2017
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

Hopefully you all survived last Friday the 13th without incidents. We had a little celebration at the newspaper office as we hosted the weekly Chamber Coffee, and the office was decorated with explanations of phobias.

I found too many to be afraid of, so I just gave up.

I came across this piece and thought it explains our fascination with Friday the 13th, so enjoy.

Friday the 13th is a seriously unlucky day, feared by millions of people. It even has a phobia named after it friggatriskaidekaphobia. (The word is a combination of Frigg [the Norse goddess of wisdom from which we get the word Friday], triskaideka [the Greek words for 13] and phobia.)

Though many superstitious people are wary of the day, it wasn't like this until the 1800's. Part of it may stem from religion more specifically, The Last Supper when Judas Iscariot was the 13th diner. Thus, some people believe if 13 people have dinner together, one of them is bound to die soon. Alternatively, Friday was the standard day for public hangings throughout Britain, and it's believed there were 13 steps leading up to the gallows and 13 knots in the noose.

You've probably seen or heard of some of these superstitions. (Of course, there are 13...)

1. Skip the 13th floor. As number 13 is considered unlucky, many buildings are erected without a thirteenth floor.

2. Avoid the barbershop. As the superstition goes, getting a haircut on Friday the 13th will result in a family member's death.

3. Watch where your hair falls. Don't comb your hair outside on Friday the 13th, if birds use any fallen hair to build their nests, you'll go bald.

4. Handle mirrors gingerly. You've heard this one: if you break a mirror, you're in for seven years of misfortune.

5. Watch out for ladders. Some historians believe this superstition dates back to the medieval age, when ladders symbolized the gallows and walking under one would lead to the pedestrian's own hanging. Too late? You can also cross your fingers until you see a dog to reverse the curse.

6. Tread carefully. It's a common refrain: "step on your crack, break your mother's back".

7. Beware the child born on Friday the 13th. An old wives' tale dictates children born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life. However, Steve Buscemi, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Kat Dennings were Friday the 13th babies, and they seem like they're doing alright (knock on wood).

8. Dodge funeral processions. Pass a funeral procession on Friday the 13th, and-if the superstition is true-you'll die the next day.

9. Don't travel by ship. Better yet, don't travel at all, warn the Black Friday fearful. According to the superstition, ships that set sail on Fridays are doomed to misfortune. A similar myth holds that all trips began on Friday will encounter bad luck.

10. Hold on to the salt shaker. Knocking over the salt is thought to lead to bad luck on any day, and Friday the 13th especially. Spilt salt has been associated with treachery and lies ever since Judas was depicted spilling salt in Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.

11. Mind your table manners. On Friday the 13th, do not put shoes on a table, do not sleep on a table, and do not sing at the table, or you'll risk being struck by bad luck.

12. Get a tattoo. On Friday the 13th, tattoo artists celebrate. It's a tradition for tattooists to tattoo customers for $13 on the hallowed day. Customers, in turn, should leave a $7 tip.

13. Hold off on major purchases. Many consumers refuse to make major purchases on Friday the 13th. Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost on Friday the 13th because of people's reluctance to shop or conduct business.

I'd love to continue, but I have to put out the black cat and sweep up the spilled salt and broken mirror.....



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