CHENNAI: If you thought that Friday the 13th is unlucky, perhaps this will change your mind. According to astrologers in the city, Friday is actually considered an auspicious day, but the number 13 for most people is associated with a bad omen.
What's So Scary About the Number 13?
- The fear of the number 13 is so widespread, it actually has its own scientific name: Triskaidekaphobia
- From the 1890s, a number of English language sources relate the 'unlucky' thirteen to the Last Supper, where Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus was the 13th to sit at the table
- In Spanish speaking countries, instead of Friday, Tuesday the 13th (martes trece) is considered a day of bad luck
- In Finland, a consortium of governmental and nongovernmental organizations led by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health promotes the National Accident Day, which always falls on a Friday the 13th
In case you were wondering this has nothing to do with the American horror franchise by the same name (Friday the 13th) that has immortalised Jason (the psycho killer in the plastic mask) since as far back as 1980.
Oddly enough, it isn't the youngsters influenced by pop culture that believe in bad luck on the 13th of month, Friday or any other day. "Stories of freak accidents and investments gone wrong have actually been passed down generations by elders," according to astrologer Kausalya Ramesh. So much so, that she adds, "People these days don't even want to take a hotel room marked number 13. They say yes to number 12 or 14, just not the dreaded double digits in between," Kausalya reveals from her interactions with clients over the past decade.
Despite these extreme beliefs, mandapam bookings and Church weddings don't seem to be suffering in the least because this superstitious belief. And some priests find it rather amusing when the question is brought up. Reverend John who has been in ministry for over 30 years now says, "I have never come across a couple not wanting to get married on a Friday the 13th." He adds, "Come to think of it, couples actually opt to block their date on a Wednesday or a Friday."
This also ties in with Hindu and Islamic beliefs, where Friday is considered an auspicious day for new beginnings, be it with one's career or otherwise. According to Vijayalakshmi K, an astrologer with AstroVed, an online portal for Indian astrology consultations, "As per Hindu and Vedic tradition, Friday is very auspicious for all kinds of beginnings and work. But date and day alone do not decide the auspiciousness of a day, there are many other factors to take into consideration."
Of course, experts and superstition aside, some like Amrutash Misra show us that a day, any day, is really what you make it. For the 31-year-old who is celebrating his fifth wedding anniversary today, there is only one factor to consider. He says, "I'm a lucky man and today is the day, I got luckiest."
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day, making it the most feared day and date in history.