For many superstitious people out there, today is a day to avoid at all possible, as it is a day supposedly full of bad luck. A fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia, and an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected. Many people do not travel or conduct business on this day.
One of the biggest superstitions surrounding this day revolves around black cats – they say if one crosses your path, it is bad luck, so if you encounter one, turn around and change your path. Some say this superstition originated in the Middle Ages, when the black cat was linked to witches and Satan. Since it was believed that a witch had the power to transform herself into a cat, it was thought likely that a cat who crossed one’s path was a witch in disguise.
The number thirteen in general also has a long history of being seen as bad luck. Many highrise buildings do not have a 13th floor and many cities and towns do not have a 13th Street.
Here are some other common superstitions:
- Never walk under a ladder
- If you spill salt, throw a pinch over your left shoulder
- Be extra careful with mirrors as a broken mirror brings seven years bad luck
- Never open an umbrella in a house
- Make sure all bouquets have an odd number of flowers, unless the bouquet is for a funeral or cemetary
Are you superstitious? Are you changing your daily routine today because it is Friday the 13th?