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When the 13th day of a month falls on a Friday, it is traditionally considered to be unlucky (nieszczęśliwy) in many countries around the world, including Poland. However, as you’ll probably discover if you choose to study abroad, superstitions like this vary a lot from country-to-country.
Very little is known about the origins of the day’s notoriety. Some historians believe that the superstitions surrounding it arose in the late 19th century. The first documented mention of the day can be found in a biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th. A 1907 book, Friday the Thirteenth, by American businessman Thomas Lawson, may have further perpetuated the superstition.
Others believe that the myth has Biblical origins. First and foremost, the Last Supper’s 13th guest, Judas betrayed Jesus,according to the Bible. Then, His Crucifixion occurred on a Friday. Some scholars also believe Eve tempted Adam on a Friday.
Also, Babylon’s ancient Code of Hammurabi skips number 13 when listing laws. Egyptians considered the afterlife the 13th phase of life. Much later, King Philip IV of France certainly didn’t help by ordering the persecution of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307. In the following years, several thousand faced torture and execution.
The fear of Friday the 13th is also called friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia. Friggatriskaidekaphobia comes from Frigg, the Norse goddess of wisdom after whom Friday is named, and the Greek words triskaideka, meaning 13, and phobia, meaning fear. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is also derived from Greek: paraskeví translates as Friday, and dekatria is another way of saying 13.
The fear is real and very common. Experts say that friggatriskaidekaphobia affects millions of people and estimate that businesses, especially airlines suffer from severe losses on Friday the 13th.
Triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of the number 13, is even more widespread. So much so that many high-rise buildings, hotels, and hospitals skip the 13th floor and many airports do not have gates numbered 13. In many parts of the world, having 13 people at the dinner table is considered bad luck!
For a month to have a Friday the 13th, the month must begin on a Sunday. It is an unlucky day for some, but could be very lucky for others.
In Poland many people are superstitious (przesądni) about the number 13, especially of Friday 13th. They believe that the best way to avoid bad luck is to stay at home and do nothing this day. Pechowa trzynastka is a word for “unlucky 13”
Listen to this Polish song about Friday, the 13th! Most of the song lists positive things about that day!
For me, personally, 13th is a lucky number!
How about you?
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