Today is Friday the 13th, when, according to Western superstition, 'things can go very wrong'. It got the Celt newsroom staff to chatting about our favourite Irish superstitions and, for the day that's in it, we compiled our top thirteen. Also scroll down for more about the background to 'Friday the 13th'.
The Celt's Favourite 13 superstitions
- Saluting one magpie to prevent bad luck (one for sorrow, two for joy...)
- Don't walk under a ladder (it will bring you bad luck)
- Breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck
- Don't cross a black cat's path (if it crosses your path, it's good luck)
- Don't put new shoes on the table (it's bad luck)
- If you spill salt you must throw a pinch of it over your left shoulder using your right hand to prevent bad luck
- If you put a jumper or tee-shirt on inside out, it's good luck (but you can't remove it yourself, you must get someone else to do it for you)
- Don't move home on a Saturday, it's bad luck ('Saturday flitting is short sitting)
- 'Fork to the floor, stranger to the door' (if you drop a fork, it means a stranger will call to your door)
- If you trip in a graveyard, it's said that you'll die within the year!
- An itchy nose is a sign of an impending argument with someone
- An itchy palm of your hand means you will either come into money or lose money (right [palm] to receive, left to leave)
- A burning ear means that somebody is talking about you ('left for love (somebody is saying good things about you) and right for spite')
Fun Friday the 13th facts
This year, Friday the 13th will occur twice – today and again, July. It happens at least once every year but can occur up to three times in a calendar year. There will be two Friday the 13ths every year until 2020, where 2021 and 2022 will have just one occurrence, in August and May respectively.
But where does the superstition come from? The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name “triskaidekaphobia" and fear of Friday the 13th is called “paraskevidekatriaphobia”, from the Greek words Paraskeví meaning Friday and dekatreís meaning 13.
Some believe that the superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages originating from the story of Jesus's Last Supper and Crucifixion in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday.
It is possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson's popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth contributed to disseminating the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.
A suggested origin of the superstition—Friday, 13 October 1307, the date Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar—may not have been formulated until the 20th century.
Anecdotally, it's cheaper to fly on Friday the 13th; and insurance companies report LESS accidents as people tend to be more careful.