Friday the 13th: Superstitions from around the world!

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Published 2019-09-13 12:52

The Friday the 13th superstition is thought to originate from the last supper of Jesus where 13 individuals were present. Today, the superstition is alive and kicking and the fear of Friday the 13th even has a scientific name- triskaidekaphobia. It has given rise to a famous and very successful franchise of movies and it is also known to cause significant loss to businesses in the United States as a lot of people refuse to travel to work. But this is not the only, or even the strangest superstition. What are other superstitions around the world you should absolutely know about?

Friday the 17th instead of the 13th?

In Italy, it is Friday the 17th and not Friday the 13th which is considered bad luck. Indeed, the Italians consider this day the most unlucky of the calendar. Why? It is thought that it started in Ancient Rome where the number 17 was written XVII which when re-written could read VIXI which means “I have lived” and, therefore, “my life is over”. Why Friday, then? Well again, because Jesus died on a Friday.

Spain has its own variant too…

In Spain, it is Tuesday the 13th, or martes trece which brings bad luck. It is also the case in several Spanish-speaking countries. Why is this particular day considered unlucky? The superstition has not, to date, been traced back to a specific event or logic. For example, some believe that it is related to Mars, the god of war who gave its name to martes, that is Tuesday in Spanish.

Walking backwards in Portugal…

In Portugal, walking backwards would mean you are calling for the devil to follow you. This originates from crabs that usually walk backwards or sidewards. The animal is symbolic of the devil in this country.

The number 4 in China…

In China, the number 4 is pronounced the same way death is in Cantonese and therefore, the number 4 is considered very unlucky. So much so that many buildings in China do not have a fourth floor, a 14th floor, a 24th floor and so on. Instead, it automatically skips to the fifth, 15th or 25th floor. 

Calling the devil in Lithuania and the Netherlands…

Did you want to speak to the devil? Then you can either whistle indoors in Lithuania or sing at a dinner table in the Netherlands. Indeed, whistling indoors in Lithuania is thought to summon devil who will haunt you forever. In the Netherlands, singing at the dinner table means you are actually singing for the devil!

Don’t offer 14 flowers in Hungary!

In Hungary, you absolutely cannot offer 14 flowers to someone. Indeed, even numbered bouquets are reserved for… dead people. So make sure when trying to woo this Hungarian girl or boy, you offer them an odd-numbered bouquet!

If you see an owl in Kenya...

In Kenya, owls are considered bad luck. Indeed, Kenyans believe that owls are bad luck and could mean an imminent death or some sort of mishap. But this can be avoided if you shoo away the owl or throw salt in a fire.