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Q. What’s the absolute greatest thing about Friday the 13th this month?

A. While it’s a day considered super unlucky by the superstitious set (roughly 20% of Americans), St. Patrick’s Day and the “luck o’ the Irish” is close on its heels. Fun fact: thirteen is not an unlucky number in Italy, ancient China, ancient Egypt, or to pop chanteuse Taylor Swift. So there’s also that.

Why is a decent chunk of the western world still hung up on something that seems out-of-place in modern life, i.e., viewing seemingly innocuous things like black cats, broken mirrors, and inverted horseshoes as bad luck? For starters, there are those who legitimately suffer from a fear of the number thirteen (triskaidekaphobia) in general, or a fear of Friday the 13th (paraskevidekatriaphobia) in particular. Whether these fears are biology or cultural, I’ll leave up to the experts; maybe it’s a little bit of both.

As to where humanity began to fear the number thirteen or Fridays in a cultural context, that’s not easy to pin down. Like most things that have their roots hundreds or even thousands of years in the past, it’s almost impossible to assign blame to any one person or event. One of the earliest mentions linking Friday to badness can be found in the 14th century within Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but then a large gap occurs before more examples pop up in the 17th century. Then in the 19th century, Friday really gets dragged through the mud. And that’s not even attaching the thirteen to it yet. Despite the many theories that this began because of bad things happening to good people in the Bible (such as thirteen guests being present at the Last Supper, for starters), these ideas were never actually verified by the Bible itself.

To flip that bad luck upside down, just look to the modified set. Like Ms. Swift, those with piercings and/or tattoos have adopted the viewpoint that Friday the 13th is actually a lucky day. As a result, many piercers have reported that more business than usual on Friday the 13th, and there are tattoo parlors all over America which specialize in giving $13 tattoos on this date. Who else loves thirteen? Magicians and gamblers, thanks to each suit in a deck having thirteen cards.

But if you’re one of the 2.1 million Americans who just can’t get past the fear that each Friday the 13th generates, superstition dictates you can do a myriad of things to combat bad luck, such as knocking on wood, avoiding black kitties, throwing salt over your left shoulder (bathing in it is also an option!), burning incense, and carrying protective charms. Lucky for you – those four-leaf clovers will be just about everywhere in a few days, so get some early and give Friday the 13th a smug smile of triumph!

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