FRIDAY THE THRITEENTH
Any month that starts on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th in it.
There is a Norse myth about 12 gods who were having a dinner party when in walked an uninvited 13th guest - the mischievous Loki. According to the myth, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe- tipped arrow. Balder died and the Earth went dark. The whole Earth mourned.
A particularly bad Friday the 13th occurred in the middle ages. On a Friday the 13th in 1306, King Philip of France arrested the revered Knights Templar and began torturing them, marking the occasion as a day of evil.
In ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil. Both Friday and the number 13 were once closely associated with capital punishment. In British tradition, Friday was the conventional day for public hangings, and there were supposedly 13 steps leading up to the noose.
Numerologists consider 12 a "complete" number. There are 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, and 12 apostles of Jesus. In exceeding 12 by 1, 13's association with bad luck has to do with just being a little beyond completeness.
The fear of the number 13 is so great that more than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor, many airports skip the 13th gate, several cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue, and hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
The next full moon on Halloween night will be October 31, 2020.
The Salem Witch trials of 1692 are known for burning so-called witches at the stake. Actually, not one witch died by burning; most were put to death by hanging. One unfortunate witch was “pressed” to death and several died in prison of natural causes.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah, in 2004, had the highest proportion of its total population trick-or-treating in the 5-to-13 year old age group with Alaska following closely behind.
Samhainophobia is an intense fear of Halloween.
Some people believe that if you see a spider on Halloween, it is the spirit of a loved one watching over you.
Vampire bats really do exist, but they are not from Transylvania. They live in Central and South America and feed on the blood of cattle, horses and birds.
VARIOUS HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS
Brazil’s most popular and festive holiday is Carnival. In fact, many people consider Carnival one of the world’s biggest celebrations. Each spring, on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday, the streets of Brazil’s largest city, Rio de Janeiro, come alive with wild parties, festivals and glamorous balls.
At Chinese New Year celebrations, people wear red clothes, give children “lucky money” in red envelopes and set off firecrackers. Red symbolizes fire, which the Chinese believe drives away bad luck. Family members gather at each other's homes for extravagant meals. Chinese New Year ends with a lantern festival.
Each April 23, Turkey celebrates Cocuk Bayrami, or Children’s Day. Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk declared the holiday in 1920, as Turkey was becoming an independent nation after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, to illustrate that children were the future of the new nation.
Children in England celebrate the end of winter and the arrival of spring on May 1 each year. The festivities center around a huge striped maypole that’s decorated with flowers
and streamers. Children hold the streamers as they dance around the pole, weaving intricate patterns as they pass each other. May Day dates back to ancient times, when Romans honored Flora, the goddess of spring.
Every August, brothers and sisters in northern India show their love for each other by celebrating Raksha Bandhan. This tradition dates back more than 500 years. The girls tie a bracelet of silk threads, called a rakhi, around their brothers’ wrists. The boys then promise to protect their sisters. The siblings also give each other a piece of Indian candy, called laddu. At the end of the ceremony, the children exchange gifts.
On December 13, one of the longest and darkest nights of the winter, Swedes celebrate the festival of St. Lucia, the patron saint of light. In many homes, a girl gets up early in the morning and puts on a long white dress, with a red sash at the waist, and a laurel crown decorated with four candles. She serves her family warm lussekatt buns for breakfast. The buns, shaped like the number eight, are usually flavored with saffron and topped with raisins or nuts. Boys, called star boys, wear long white shirts and pointed hats. They help serve the buns. Children often go to school dressed in the costumes and serve the buns to their teachers.
A tradition was introduced many centuries ago to allow women to propose to men during a leap year. This privilege of pro- posing was restricted to leap day in some areas. Leap day was sometimes known as 'Bachelors' Day'. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage offer from a woman. The tradition's origin stemmed from an old Irish tale referring to St. Bridget striking a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men every four years. This old custom was probably made to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how the leap day balances the calendar.
It was also considered to be unlucky for someone to be born on a leap day in Scotland and for couples to marry on a leap year, including on a leap day, in Greece
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