13 September, 2019

Friday the 13th in Indian tradition: Lucky or Unlucky?

You have paraskevidekatriaphobia if you believe in and consider Friday, 13, 2019 as an unlucky day for you




Did you plan to hold a black cat in your arms and walk in the middle of a Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru or any busy road in India to prove Friday the 13th is not unlucky? If no, good. That would've been termed as suicidal.

Friday the 13th is also a horror movie
franchise. Photo bu Google.com
Superstition is popularly known in India as Andhashradha. Or, is it...andhaviśvāsaṁ in Malayalam;
Mūḍha in Telugu; Mūṭanampikkai in Tamil; Mūst nambike in Kannada; Vahima in Punjabi; Kusanskāra in Bengali; Andhaśrad'dhā in Gujarati? Please feel free to write back if you feel any of these are incorrect.

Maharashtra and Karnataka have enacted a law on superstition and Kerala is about to legislate one. However, it is unclear whether our constitution has any such law on this weird belief. Anyway, the law in Maharashtra does not include luck or being unlucky which Friday the 13th is associated with for thousands of years.

This belief has almost died in modern, progressive India where young women and men from all faiths converge each day to work in a corporate environment. In fact, you might have wished one of your colleagues celebrating their birthday on 13th September 2019.

Not surprisingly though few among us continue to live this Friday the 13th as an unlucky day, fearing something will go wrong. If you are among them, you have paraskevidekatriaphobia (It has 23 letters)!

National Public Radio, or the NPR says if you learn to pronounce this word correctly, you'll never fear this day again in your lifetime. Want to try it? Just break it up into syllables: Paras - kevi - deka - tria - phobia.

It's also called friggatriskaidekaphobia.

In India, Friday the 13th or any 13th day or number is considered auspicious. So, the unlucky concept or belief has been more of western world influence.

Fear of number 13 would mean you have triskaidekaphobia.

Author Devdutt Pattanaik, widely known for work in mythology and interpretations of ancient Indian scriptures, stories, symbols and rituals wrote an article on Friday the 13th on 11th January 2008. This article goes without a shelf life as it'll be relevant as long as this belief exists. See: Friday 13 Modern Mythmaking.

Dictionary.com has come with reasons and the origin of Friday the 13th. See: Why is Friday the 13th unlucky?

Other media platforms educating their readers, sharing about this belief:

News18: Friday the 13th: Here's How the Superstition Started

The Indian Express: Friday the 13th: Spooky for a few, not for most

Mashable India: Upcoming Friday The 13th Lunar Event Makes 'Once In A Blue Moon' An Understatement

Hindustan Times: Bhoot Part 1 poster: Vicky Kaushal brings the horror on Friday the 13th