Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday, the 13th

Superstition is a belief that is not based on any knowledge. It gives us the illusion of control over events that we don't understand. It is a false belief based on ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in chance or some other mis-conception.

Another way to put it is that superstition is an irrational or nonscientific belief in the existence of certain powers operant in the world, with positive or ill effects.

There are few familiar examples of this:

  • Breaking a mirror will result in years of bad luck.
  • The number 13 is "unlucky" and the numbers 7 and 9 are "lucky."
  • Finding a four-leaved clover will be a boon to your fortune.

Superstitious beliefs are universal. You will find different superstitions in different countries. Every culture has its irrational causal beliefs, but some cultures are exceeding superstitious even in the 21st century. For example, the use of astrologers is still widespread in India, a country with many superstitions.

The Chinese are particularly superstitious, especially about numbers.

Thirteen is considered as an unlucky number to some people in the U.S. Others consider thirteen a lucky number.

In India, there is a superstition that a pregnant woman should avoid going outside during an eclipse in order to prevent her baby being born with a facial birthmark.

And the most famous superstition in History is Friday the 13th. So let's look what this superstition is and from where it has believed to come.

Friday came to be called "witches' Sabbath." For it was believed that on this day, each week, twelve witches and the Devil met - thirteen evil spirits up to no good! This is one of the reasons for today's superstition about Friday the 13th.

Though it's hard to pinpoint the exact origins of any superstition, several Internet sites are devoted to the history of this legend ‘Friday the 13th’.

The word "Friday" is, in fact, derived from a Norse deity who was worshipped on the sixth day of the week and who represented marriage and fertility. Fridays in the early Norse culture were associated with love and considered a good day for weddings.

Over time, however, mythology transformed the Norse fertility goddess into a witch, and Fridays became an unholy Sabbath. Incidentally, the goddess' sacred animal was a cat, which may explain the legendary connection between witches and cats, as well as the superstition about black cats heralding bad luck.

Fridays, for example, are hailed as a particularly significant day in the Christian tradition. Obviously, there is Good Friday, the day Jesus Christ was crucified. But according to Christian lore, Adam and Eve also supposedly ate the forbidden fruit on a Friday, the Great Flood started on a Friday, the builders of the Tower of Babel were tongue-tied on a Friday and the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday.

The number 13 also has been associated with death in other cultures. For example, the ancient Egyptians, believed life unfolded in 12 stages, and the 13th stage was death. The Egyptians considered death a part of their ultimate journey and looked forward to the spiritual transformation, thus 13 was not an unlucky number in their culture. But like so many others, the tradition changed through time and cultures, eventually associating the number 13 with a more negative and fearful interpretation of death.

So, who knows?

The date may be forever cursed by one event that occurred nearly 700 years ago, or by a series of cosmic coincidences.

So in the end we can say that Superstition is any belief, based on fear or ignorance, that is inconsistent with the known laws of science or with what is generally considered in the particular society as true and rational, esp., such a belief in charms, omens, the supernatural, etc. And any action or practice based on such a belief.

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