Friday the 13th – Superstitions

It’s Friday the 13th! Superstitions abound about today. It’s considered “unlucky” across many Western cultures.

The fear of thirteens is called “triskaidekaphobia.” Based on that, the fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia. Frigg is a Norse goddess, and Friday is named after her (Friday = Frigg’s Day). Others caal the fear of Friday the 13th paraskevidekatriaphobia, which is based on the Greek word for Friday.

Why Friday the 13th is considered unlucky, however, is anyone’s guess. Many different possibilities have been suggested, yet none are definitively proven. Whatever the cause, it seems have started around the 19th century, and particularly in Western countries.

Interestingly, in Spanish speaking countries, Friday the 13th is considered a lucky day! For these countries, Tuesday the 13th is the day thought to be unlucky. In Italy, the unlucky day is Friday the 17th. In Finland, Friday the 13th is National Accident Day – used to promote awareness about auto safety.

In the Netherlands, data suggests Friday the 13th might be a safer day to drive than average – there is a slight reduction in reported auto accidents on Friday the 13th, which may be because more people are staying home and off the roads…or because there’s nothing particularly unlucky about the date!

Superstitions aren’t only about dates – plenty of small business owners have superstitions too.

How Do Superstitions Help?

Although superstitions get short shrift in today’s scientific, data driven society, they can serve a good purpose. We tend to notice patterns in success (and failure) before we begin to comprehend why those patterns exist. For example, you might realize you do better on interviews or sales meetings when you’re wearing those lucky pink polka dot socks, so you begin to wear them for every meeting. Sure, it might just come down to your confidence level and the way your confidence shows in that meeting. If those socks are what gives you that confidence, then your superstition is really just a shallow insight into your success – but it works!

The same is true with the reverse. Your “unlucky” socks might have just bunched at the toes during one meeting, made you uncomfortable, and threw you off your game. You may decide to avoid these socks in future meetings because they’re “unlucky,” without understanding the connection between comfort and confidence…and you’d still be better off for it.

Whatever your superstitions might be, digging into them for the actionable insights they contain will give you a better understanding of what helps you be successful.

Happy Friday the 13th!