October has arrived with a few warm days, cold weather just around the corner, and a Friday the 13th on the calendar.
Fear of the number 13, known as “triskaidekaphobia,” has its origins in Norse mythology. It was reinforced in the Christian era by the story of the Last Supper, at which Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the thirteenth guest at the table.
A fear of the number 13 is one of the most common superstitions around; it’s so widespread that many tall apartment buildings and hotels simply omit labeling their 13th floor. And have you noticed that some airlines don’t have a 13th row?
Our ancestors brought their cultural beliefs, superstitions and traditions and passed them through the generations. Bad luck to walk under a ladder; don’t cut the baby’s nails for the first year; carrying a hoe into the house is bad luck; if you see a white horse it is good luck; itchy right hand means you will receive money; wearing garlic prevents illness (well, this might work as it also prevents close contact by friends and relatives!)
Do you say “God Bless” when someone sneezes; eat a special food for holidays; always use Grandma’s glass plate for birthday cakes; hang a pickle ornament on your Christmas tree; eat twelve grapes at midnight on New Years’ Eve? Superstitions and traditions enrich our lives and the stories of our ancestors, giving us another layer of connection.
Enjoy your family traditions and stories.
And Gesundheit! Just in case.
Written by Faye Myers-Kosciusko County Genealogist