I am not superstitious. I walk under ladders, like black cats and if I knock over the salt I am definitely not going to blind the guy sitting behind me in the cafe by trowing it over my shoulder. However as today is Friday the 13th and people all around the world are popping lucky tokens into their pockets and pulling up their charmed socks I can’t help but wonder what it is that makes this day so special.
Now I know that many believe the number 13 to be unlucky because of the 13 apostles at the Last Supper, or because a coven of witches was made up out of 13 women. But I didn’t know that even the Egyptians associated the number 13 with the stages of afterlife and thought it to be unlucky. The Vikings with all their fancy hats and sharp weapons also were a little bit iffy about this particular day as their god of mischief Loki showed up at a banquet uninvited bringing the number of guests up to 13 and in a round about way causing one of them to die. And here I was thinking that only bad fairy’s or nasty godmothers did that kind of thing.
Some people even have a fear of the number 13 and this oddity is called “triskaidekaphobia”, and if this unlucky number and Friday coincide it causes others to freak out (friggatriskaidekaphobia), both really high scorers on a scrabble board.
Another prime number that people seem to have certain feelings about is the number 7. It took God seven days to create the world. Pythagoras called it the perfect number, as it is a combination of both the triangle and the square and if you roll two dice, seven is the most frequent combination possible. Maybe that is why people call it lucky number 7.
But numbers seem to influence us in many ways. Some people believe their birth-date to be their own personal lucky number or tattoo significant dates onto their bodies. And then there is the Enneagram that categorizes you into one of nine personality types. Some people even rate attractiveness on a scale of 1-10. And who wasn’t scared when their mom started to count to three, even if you never quite knew what would happen if she ever got there.
With all that in mind I count my pennies to see if I’m lucky and they add up to the figure of my bus-fare and watch as the neighbours black cat suns itself on the pavement. And even if I don’t know what my personality number is and I am no 10, who knows maybe today will be my lucky day and something special will happen.