FRIDAY 13 has sent shivers down the spines of the superstitious since ancient times.
In North America and Europe a significant proportion of the population behaves very strangely during this day. Triskaidekaphobia is the technical term of fear of the number 13 and Fridays.
Judas was the 13th member to arrive at the last supper. Also, Adam and Eve were supposed to have eaten the forbidden fruit on a Friday and the great flood occurred on a Friday. Frigg the Norse goddess of love and sex challenged the male hegemony of the Christian faith, so she was portrayed as the 13th member of a convent of Witches. King Philip tortured the Knights of the Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307.
What do these people have against Fridays?
In true Friday the 13th spirit, we have put together 13 odd superstitions from around the world…
It’s unlucky to leave your chopsticks standing up in your meal, as this is generally only done during funeral ceremonies. Passing food from chopstick to chopstick is also frowned upon as family members pass the bones of the dead person with chopsticks. Yep, this reportedly, actually happens.
The Turkish people believe that if you chew gum at night, you are actually chewing the flesh of the dead. Delicious and minty fresh dead flesh. Mmmmmm.
Few take number superstitions as far as China, who believe that the number four should be avoided at all costs. Many go as far as to ensure they don’t go to the fourth floor in most buildings, and even skip all levels with the number in them. They also avoid manufacturing license plates with the dreaded digit. Fortunately the number eight is considered extremely lucky in China, to the extent that the Beijing Olympics began at eight sections past 8.08pm on 8/88/08.
New years eve. Bubbly, fireworks and er.. eating grapes. No midnight kisses here, as the Spaniards instead choose to eat grapes, believed to spread good luck for the upcoming year. That and the obvious health benefits make this a clear winner.
Bad luck in Argentina is epitomised by former president Carlos Menem. Speaking his name aloud essentially mans bringing a curse upon yourself! Anybody who hears this will do the English equivalent of ‘touching wood’, usually touching their left breast or testicles. President of Argentina from 1989 to 1999, the Unnamable is infamous for selling off the country’s national industries in a neoliberal yard sale and plunging the country further into debt with the one-dollar/one peso scheme and a series of billion-dollar loans from the International Monetary Fund. Ouch.
Dropped your favourite mug? Smashed your mother’s prized porcelain? In Denmark, it’s considered lucky to collect smashed porcelain, in order to throw is at the houses of friends and family on New Years Eve. The bigger the pile of porcelain, the more good fortune the recipients will receive in the upcoming year. Kinda feel we have been shortchanged in NYE superstition, this sounds awesome.
Syria’s capital, Damascus’ name comes from Aramaic meaning a “well-watered place”. Local’s are apparently so concerned about potential drought they have adopted some very strange beliefs. Yo-yo’s have been banned. They say that while people are praying for rain to come down, the yo-yo brings adverse luck when praying for rain. Chiefs who were granted an audience with the Prime Minister and exposed the evil influence of yo-yos and they were immediately banned.
Italians insist congestione is real. It’s the belief that if you eat something and get into water within 3-4 hours, you will die. Some hardcore believers refuse to even shower after a meal for fear that their body won’t have enough blood to keep warm and digest food simultaneously. Smelly.
In india, a solar eclipse means the streets will become deserted. This strange superstition causes the country to come to a halt. There are several superstitions associated with solar eclipses. Solar eclipses are associated with war, violent events and disasters. Any cooked food considered to have become impure during the event, they are thrown away or given to beggars.People don’t eat or cook food during the event.Temples are closed before the event and reopened after the event is over. Many shops also remain closed. Indian’s believe that the sun’s rays are toxic during this period, and the whole country goes into hibernation mode. They also believe that burying a sick child up to their neck during the eclipse will cure any ailment. Okay…..
4. South Korea…
South Koreans believe that sleeping in a room with a fan on will kill you. Yes, really. This belief is so wide reaching that fans are often sold featuring a timer, so they will automatically shut off as you fall to sleep. BEWARE OF THE KILLER FANS!
In medieval England, when a woman became pregnant she would make a wheel of cheese and leave it to age. Nine months late the family would share the ‘groaning cheese’, making sure that they left the outer rind. The baby then would be passed through the wheel of cheese to bring good luck! Hey Presto.
In Russia carrying an empty bucket, or even seeing someone who is carrying one, is considered bad luck. This is because Tsar Alexander II was assassinated by a man with empty buckets for hands. We can only presume American guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Buckethead doesn’t have much of an audience in Russia.
In Thailand it is considered good luck for a man to wear a penis medallion. The “palad khik” which translated roughly as an “honorable surrogate penis” is supposed to give the wearer good fortune when gambling, protect you from being mugged, and make you irresistible to women. We will take your word for it.