Black Friday unsettles us
IN THE words of Stevie Wonder it's "very superstitious" today.
Friday the 13th, or black Friday, as it is called by some, is an unlucky day if you are superstitious.
Some people prefer to stay in bed all day than risk the bad luck associated with Friday the 13.
Black cats crossing your path, breaking a mirror or walking under a ladder are thought especially unlucky today, apparently.
While some just use the day as an excuse to get dressed up - think Halloween - others are so freaked out they refuse to leave the house, fly on an aeroplane or enter into a contract on this day.
Symptoms people experience on Friday the 13th range from mild anxiety to panic attacks.
Lotus Emporium's Karine Barrett said there was no reason to be scared today, but if you were worried it was a good idea to turn the negative into a positive.
"There's no need to hold back," she said.
"Think positively, take back the power and laugh at it (the superstition); we live in the 21st century."
Ms Barrett said black Friday was just a day that over time had been exaggerated.
"It's thought to be unlucky, but that's just fear-based."
She said there was nothing in it, and Friday the 13th was just like any other day.
And most Gympie residents agree.
When The Gympie Times hit the streets yesterday to find out what residents thought, most said they didn't believe in all the hocus pocus surrounding black Friday.
Ms Barrett said the origins of the day being associated with bad luck went back to October 13, 1312.
Back then, the Pope decreed at midnight that the Knights Templar be executed.
She said Templars were killed, but others were able to escape.
In pagan lore, Friday the 13th was especially sacred to the goddess Freya, Ms Barrett explained.
"Perhaps it was a way the new religion suppressed the old ways," she said. But it now has a connection with bad luck.
While it may seem irrational, the fear of Friday the 13th is real. It's called triskaidekaphobia.
Psychologists agree with Ms Barrett's tip to get over your fears, they say if you think pleasant thoughts then pleasant things will happen.
- Friday the 13th has long been shrouded in superstition. Back in medieval times Fridays were regarded as an unlucky day to travel. And even now there are usually fewer traffic crashes on Fridays - and Friday the 13th in particular.
- In Britain, black Friday is associated with capital punishment. There were often 13 steps to the hangman's noose and people were more likely to executed on a Friday.
- Many buildings don't have a 13th floor.
- In the time of Christ, there were 13 people at the last supper (Judas was the 13th guest) and Christ was said to have been crucified on a Friday.
- There will be three Fridays falling on the 13th day of the month (superstitious folk always say bad luck comes in threes), three days you are officially allowed to be a bit superstitious - if you are that way inclined. Today is the first, the second will be in April and the third in July.