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Superstitious? May your luck today be good

Triskaidekaphobia — fear of the number 13.

If you are among those of a superstitious ilk, you might want to be extra careful today, as today is Friday the 13th.

The number 13 has been considered unlucky since medieval times, and the superstition around Friday the 13th as particularly unlucky has been tied to the Last Supper with 13 people in attendance combined with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on a Friday.

But there are other references to the number 13 and to date as being bad luck.

Norse mythology tells how the god Odin invited 11 friends to a dinner party at his home, only to have the party crashed by Loki, the god of evil and turmoil, giving a total of 13 people. Another god, Balder, tried to remove Loki from the party. A scuffle ensued and ended in Balder’s death by a mistletoe-tipped arrow.

Another reference to Friday the 13th as carrying bad luck is found in the 14th century with the arrest of Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307.

This is not the first Friday the 13th this year. The first occurred in March — around the time that the global pandemic crept into Pennsylvania. The Sun-Gazette on that morning published a front-page story about Gov. Tom Wolf urging people to avoid public areas for two weeks.

“Across the state, I am strongly encouraging all large gatherings, especially those with more than 250 attendees to be either cancelled or postponed,” said Wolf. “Second, I’m discouraging people from going to recreational activities in public places like gyms, movie theaters and stores. And third, I’m asking religious leaders to use their discretion to prevent the spread of illness through their congregations and their communities.”

While the unlucky spectre of Friday the 13th certainly wasn’t responsible for the pandemic that has lasted much of the year, why push your luck today, we ask, and forego masks and social distancing?

Better to be safe and stay healthy! Then look forward to the next Friday the 13th, which fortunately doesn’t happen until next August.

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